Howdy everyone–Son of B here (after a bit of a hiatus) with an update to a previous blog. A few weeks ago I shared a project with you loyal readers involving Tae Kwon Do, poetry, and all sorts of other fun things. For a recap on what in the world I’m talking about, see part one of this series here: Part One
If you recall, I’m currently engaged in project where I film myself performing the taegeuk forms and overlay the video with audio of a corresponding poem. Since each taegeuk form is grounded in an ancient Chinese philosophical principle, they each embody their own set of metaphysical and/or spiritual concepts. The first of these (Heaven) symbolized a starting point, a moment of crisis where the Tae Kwon Do practitioner must confront their own mortality, power/weakness, and place in eternity. The second of these forms embodies the concept of “joyfulness.”
As I continue to refine this project, I learn a bit more about how to effectively edit video/audio, how to translate philosophical meaning into personal meaning, and how/why poetry is an appropriate accompaniment to traditional forms practice. One thing I think I learned during the process of creating this second video is that Tae Kwon Do, like any art, is deeply personal. If you compare the poem in this video to “First: Meaning Heaven,” I think you’ll find a much more endearing and concrete piece. “Second: Meaning Joyfulness” attempts to conjure a series of unrelated images or narrative moments where I felt a true happiness in my life. This approach should seem quite different from the first poem (I think that one ended up being a lot more abstract) and a lot truer to the theme of the form.
One interesting thing you can look for in this poem is the recurring water imagery. The reason this sub-theme is so pronounced is because much of the literature on Tae Geuk Ee Jang refers to the principle of “joyfulness” as being represented by the image of a lake. It’s often unclear why this image is invoked. Sometimes the “lake” is invoked as a symbol of tranquility or placidness. Sometimes the lake is depicted as something that can “bubble” with joy or laughter. I feel like I’m losing something in translation at points.
One thing that this poem does that isn’t directly related to the Tae Kwon Do scholarship, however, is try to comment on the principle of joyfulness in the context of time. You’ll notice that these events aren’t really presented in any kind of logical order. Instead, they’re all simply lumped together as events that have happened, brought joy, and continue to produce joy in their memory. The point is that if we think of happiness in our lives as a lake, then we don’t have to worry about the tides shifting or the current changing (because lakes are stagnant) and we don’t have to worry about time ridding us of the joy we once felt because it’s always a part of us (even if it might exist below the surface).
Anyway, I like this poem a lot more than the first one…have I mentioned that yet? It gets at moments of love, pride, joy, excitement, suspense, and anticipation…all of the separate ingredients that perpetuate joyfulness in my life. I hope the video brings you a little bit of joy to watch 🙂
Stay tuned next week for “Third: Meaning FIre”