The Fine Line Between …

Power Word – Enthusiasm

20170608_184632When we have enthusiasm this motivates us to push hard toward the goal we desire.  Enthusiasm is the emotional fuel by which we accomplish great things.  In a sense, it is like the after-burner for a jet fighter plane.  If the jet is traveling at subsonic speeds, it is certainly traveling at a considerable velocity.  But when the after-burner kicks in, the jet fighter pushes through the sound barrier propelling it far quicker to its destination.

Also, when we are enthusiastic, others can see it.  This is especially important when enthusiasm is present and demonstrated while attempting to learn something new.  By being enthusiastic, this creates energy within yourself to help focus on the lesson at hand.  It also creates energy in a synergistic fashion with the one teaching the lesson.  When a teacher sees that the student is enthusiastic, this prompts the teacher to be more in-depth than might normally be expected with the lesson at hand and to perhaps progress beyond the lesson to deeper concepts.  It also allows for the student to go further into the subject at a quicker pace.

It is experienced in our martial arts classes every day.  If the students are enthusiastic about their training, even if they are not athletically gifted, they propel themselves further than the naturally talented who may not be quite as energized.  If they are not filled with enthusiasm, no matter their martial arts skillsets, they perform at a mediocre level, the frequency of their training is far less and much slower, and their absorption of concepts and principles is lackluster.

But then the question arises; what if the goal is such that we have no enthusiasm?  What can I do if I need to complete a goal but simply cannot find the enthusiasm to push forward?  The answer is truly a matter of mindset.

For example, many times we feel a lack of enthusiasm for a task because the process toward completion of the task is tedious, mundane, or perhaps physically difficult.  We look at the task without looking at the positive results that will come from it.  For example, one may not be a great fan of mowing the lawn.  You’re out there getting all sweaty and dirty, and when you’re done, you’re exhausted.  Who wants to be enthusiastic about that?  In this case, the mindset is focused on the steps in the process rather than on the positive end result.  But if the mind switches from focusing on the process to that of the end result, enthusiasm will kick in.  When you become enthusiastic about the result, everything changes.

The same holds true in our martial arts training.  There are drills and exercises that can be the least exciting and quite exhausting, yet provide many benefits that allow for mastery of other martial arts skills.  Without them our abilities to execute basic martial arts techniques is greatly diminished.  We may not like the drills, but the results over time are prevalent.  So flip the switch to look at the result and not the process, and kick in the after-burner.  From there your knowledge and your abilities vastly improve.

Enthusiasm is a powerful word to add to your vocabulary and to your daily thoughts.  Without it, there is nothing to fuel the engine of your success.


Robert Hill

Kung Jung Mu Sul of Texas


The First Rule of Martial Arts – A personal story of the meaning of respect

Within this photo is demonstrated a clear example of respect. It is of a student showing great respect to his elders and his teachers, and they showing great respect to him with the awarding of his black belt. As martial artists we have a great appreciation for this moment.
But I will share a personal story as to what this image means to me. Each person in the photo holds a significant position in my world and also my deepest respect. The respect falls upon each of them for different reasons, which speaks to the multi-faceted aspects of the meaning of respect.
First, within the image is Grandmaster Soon Tae Yang. He is the Founder and President of the International Kung Jung Mu Sul Federation. My respect for him goes far beyond my appreciation of his knowledge, which is vast. Instead, I have great respect for his dedication to what would have been a dying martial arts style. Without him Kung Jung Mu Sul would have ceased to exist as a living, breathing martial arts style. He dedicated his life to bring to us what we practice now and accept as a way of life. Additionally, he is my teacher’s teacher, as well as on occasion my own teacher, and I have gotten to know Grandmaster Yang on a personal level over the years. I can tell you that he is a man of integrity and of strong character.
Second, in the background of the photo is Master Charles Dudley. His martial arts background is extensive, long, and notable. He is, in my opinion, a direct disciple of Grandmaster Yang. I respect him as one of my teachers in the martial arts and in life (which are one and the same for me). I also respect him as a man of deep conviction, passion, compassion, and a high level of morals and ethics that is rarely seen among modern men. I look to him as a mentor and as an older, guiding brother. He has given me everything I asked for to achieve my goals in life and more.
Third, the young man receiving the black belt in this photo is Mr. Christian Salisbury. The photo was taken when he received his 2nd Dan in the art of Kung Jung Mu Sul. I am, among others, one of his teachers. I consider him the first student I guided to the achievement of his 1st Dan black belt. This is a fact that almost did not occur but for his dedication despite many obstacles confronting him at that time. But he listened, he learned, he trained, and he overcame. I have great respect for him as one of my students who did not give up when things got hard, something we rarely see in young men of his age. He is now an applicant for the United States military services academies, and I expect he will one day be a leader of men.
All three men represent a triumvirate relative to respect in my mind. My teacher’s teacher, and the founder of our federation; my teacher and my older brother in the martial way; my student and a living example of my immense joy of teaching life skills to the next generation. The relationship I hold with each would not have been possible without the constant and deep practice of mutual and unwavering respect we all share among one another as martial artists and as human beings.
Respect is the keystone within the arch of humanity. Without it there is no doorway leading to a life of peace, happiness, and success.
Robert Hill
Kung Jung Mu Sul of Texas

Using Passion (As Your Motivational Guide)

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Prior to the discovery of my purpose, I was an ambitious entrepreneur running a successful small business.  On the surface it appeared that I had the perfect life – a beautiful home, nice cars, and I could do whatever I desired.  Yet I remained discontented and my life lacked purpose.  What’s more, it lacked passion.

I knew that I wanted to change my life, but I hadn’t a clue how to do it or where to even start.  I knew I was meant for something more, but had no direction and no goals – no motivation.  I knew what I was currently doing with my life, by definition, was a success.  I had everything, yet I felt as though I had nothing.  I had reached a point where I wanted to change the direction of my life, professionally and personally.  So I looked back upon the course of my life – my entire life – and looked for the threads that ran through it.  Then I asked myself one question.

What were the things I really cared about?  And what I meant by that was what was I passionate about.

I began answering this question by identifying what types of occupations had I done throughout my life and then, also, looking at the things or activities I simply enjoyed doing.

My professional life ranged from being a paramedic to a private detective.  From this I derived that each occupation had one thing in common – I wanted to be like a superhero and rescue anyone in distress.

In terms of activities that I enjoyed doing, many things went through my head, especially the fact that I had enjoyed doing so many different things from amateur astronomy to beer making.  Most of these things, however, were just passing interests – with the exception of two things.  Those two things were writing and martial arts.  Both had been with me as a regular part of who I was for many, many years.  These were not passing interests.

Lastly, I reflected on what drove me personally from a relationship and family perspective.   I readily realized that what I wanted was a sense of family, and for me a “sense of family” meant that closeness and acceptance of who we are no matter our flaws.  Hence, family did not necessarily mean that I had to be related by blood or marriage.

Upon looking at these things, I discovered where I truly needed to go, what I needed to do, and what was my purpose in life.  The very things I felt passionate about were what motivated me to achieve my goals.  A fire had been lit to show me the way.

Many years later, I can now see how this process of looking inward at what I felt passionate about helped me, and I can see the results.  I now teach and train in the martial arts as my profession.  It allows me to help people become greater than they thought they could be and become very much like superheroes themselves.  I write professionally and in many cases, such as right now, I write about things related to martial arts and personal development.  I also have a sense of family through the close bond I share with my students and my fellow martial artists.  My life has a purpose that is guided by the light of passion.  That light continues to motivate me, continues to push me toward my goals, and continues to give me success along the way.

So if you are struggling to find your purpose and to identify the goals you wish to achieve that will lead to your success in your life, take a moment.  Actually, take several moments, if you must, and look inward to the things you enjoy, the things you feel passionate about, and the things you really want in your life.  Once you do that, you will easily know where you need to go – what is your purpose – and your passion for it will guide the way toward it.


Robert Hill

Kung Jung Mu Sul of Texas

There Is No Right OR Wrong

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.

                                                                                – Henry Ford


Funny thing about Henry Ford’s quote is there really is nothing funny or strange about it.  If you think you can, then you are right.  If you think you can’t, you are also right.  The first is a positive affirmation that will most certainly lead to a positive outcome.  The second is a negative affirmation that will most certainly lead to a negative outcome.  In fact, half the battle towards “can” or “can’t” has already been won just with the mindset invoked by these opposing outcomes.

In the martial arts setting, we see this often.  A student is presented with a challenge, for example, board breaking.  They look at the one inch pine for the first time in their life and then they utter the often heard quote, “I’ll try.”  But in their mind they are already saying, “I can’t.”  Sure enough, when they attempt to break the board, they fail.  In that sense, they were right.  They set into their mind that they could not break the board, and their mindset became their reality moments later.

You see, the practice of martial arts is a mind, body, and spirit phenomenon.  The spirit controls the mind and the mind controls the body.  One’s body may be physically capable of breaking a one inch pine board.  If proper technique is applied, it can be done with relative ease.  One’s mind may be mentally capable to direct the body to do this if it contains the correct information on how to move the body toward breaking a board.  One’s spirit is where the problem often lies.  If the spirit is lacking intent, meaning that positive determination to direct the mind to supply the correct information to the nervous system of the body, then failure will be the outcome.  However, if the spirit is focused in its intent to power through that one inch pine board using the correct information residing within the brain, then the body will follow through with that intent and success becomes the outcome.

This is true in all aspects of our everyday life.  If our spirit – our intent, our positive focus, our desire, our determination – is not maximized upon complete confidence in the outcome, then much of the power in the brain and the body is diminished, leading to a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure.  So never look at an obstacle or challenge and utter the words, “I can’t.”  If you do, you most certainly have created the outcome before it has even occurred and defeated yourself.  Never say, “I’ll try.”  That is merely a half-hearted movement that leads toward failure.  Only say, “I can,” and this will focus your spirit, which empowers the mind and the body to do things most people believe to be impossible.  Either way, whether you can’t or you can, you will be right.  The choice is up to you.