The last week of December, my family and I traveled to Santa Barbara, CA to visit Helena’s grandma. There I trained with Jang Sa Bom Nim, who I highly respect and admire as a martial artist and a high-level person. Not only is he a master of Soo Bahk Do, but he is also a master calligrapher, who got his training in Korea. Below, you will see a beautiful piece of calligraphy on the left and a scroll on the right.
The scroll has the characters that denote “sincerity” and the writing on the far left means roughly all things come from the heart, which is the meaning of sincerity.
The fan has special significance to me. The whole fan is symbolic of Chil Sung, which is Jang Sa Bom Nim’s expertise. Chil Sung is a term well-known to Soo Bahk Do practitioners, especially dan members. It is a set of forms that are unique to our system. The direct translation means 7 stars, which refer to the 7 stars of the big dipper. These set of forms are our guide in Soo Bahk Do much like the Big Dipper was a guide for sailors.
For most of my life, that was the complete meaning of Chil Sung. Apparently, Chil Sung is a term richly engrained in Korean culture. Chil Sung is a composite of Tae Guk (Um/Yang) plus O Haeng (5 Elements) . The Um Yang is the red and blue symbol found on the Korean flag and are located on the far right side of the fan. In the center of the fan, you’ll see 5 symbols, represening the 5 elements: Wood, Metal, Fire, Water, and Earth. Earth is the center symbol in Yellow, which also represents the Golden Mean. Everything in our world are manifestations of Chil Sung and through careful study, we can find elements of Chil Sung throughout our training and also in our daily life.
Perhaps in time, I’ll write a little more about Chil Sung Philosophy. I’d be interested to know if there are many people out there who would be interested in further information on the subject. I know I am.