Sunday, May 19, 2019


By Lara Buff, yellow belt

Modesty is a very useful life skill that requires practice for most people to successfully develop. Unfortunately in today’s society, with the ubiquity of social media and even among traditional news outlets, it’s very easy to find examples of arrogance and hubris. More air time tends to be granted to those who brag loudly than those who speak modestly, making it difficult to find examples of positive behavior to emulate.

Martial arts students practicing and learning about modestyIt’s human nature to want to pay more attention to winners rather than losers: for example, in professional sports. After a big game, reporters are granted access to the locker room to interview key players, and press conferences are held.When one’s team has won the game, it’s enjoyable to listen (or read about) the players describing what they did right and how they played well, and examine highlights of the game. When one’s team has lost, it’s tempting to just turn the TV off and not ever even find out whether the players take responsibility for the loss, lay the blame elsewhere, or praise the other team for having played a good game. In this way, we tend to limit our exposure to these potential, important examples of humility.

Role models of modesty and decency don’t tend to garner the same amount of interest as those of arrogance and pride. Athletes in particular often create a sensation when they brag about how great they are, and how much better they are than their opponents past and future. It makes us want to stay tuned and find out whether they are worth the hype they have created for themselves; whether we root for them or want to watch them fail, our attention is fixed on the loudest braggarts rather than other, more modest competitors. Why is it important to find role models? We need to know what modesty looks and sounds like so we can learn how to emulate those features.

By behaving with modesty, we can avoid putting ourselves into embarrassing and even potentially risky situations. We are imperfect beings, and even the best of us can have bad days. I might be a very good skier; if I were to go around bragging about my skills, I would draw more attention to myself and make it more likely that someone would decide to make me prove my abilities by challenging me to a race. Pride would compel most people to accept the challenge, even if slope conditions were less than optimal. Now I’ve put myself in a position where I feel I must push myself harder than usual for the sake of my own pride. If I should fall, or lose the race in some other way, it would be considerably more humiliating the more time I had spent going on about how awesome I was; not only that, but a high-speed fall on skis can be very dangerous. If I had simply been modest from the beginning, a loss wouldn’t sting nearly so badly as if I hadn’t put myself on such a high pedestal, and a win would still feel just as good. Or, perhaps I would have felt comfortable enough in my skiing abilities that I would not have allowed my pride to goad me into racing at all!

Behaving with modesty rather than arrogance may require a conscious choice or series of choices, at least at first. Paying attention to positive role models and choosing to imitate them, rather than models of hubris, can be helpful as we practice humble behavior. As with most things, the more we practice, the easier it becomes to make the correct choice. Modesty can help us avoid embarrassing situations, and keep us from putting ourselves at unnecessary risk.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Why Our Family Makes the Expo a Priority Each Year

By Annie Jensen, blue belt


We,  the Jensens, are faithful participants every MSK Summer Expo (except when the Expo was 3 days after our baby girl was born!). We are dedicated! We make it a priority and don’t miss it. And as a family we are very intentional about how we spend our time and money. It is a well considered decision to commit to this once-a-year experience.

Here are our three main reasons that we always make the MSK Summer Expo a top priority.
A group picture of the the Colorado Taekwondo Institute students at the Moo Sul Kwan Summer Expo
It is a Family Commitment to Health. 
There is probably no better way to kick off bathing suit season than by sweating with your hundred best friends, at altitude, in the beautiful Colorado mountains. When you put that much time and effort into exercise it actually becomes difficult to go back into your ‘lazy winter slump’. This is because (according to science!) an intense, immersive experience actually changes your brain.

It creates new pathways and habit patterns that ensure you put your health and wellness first - without any further effort. You heard me right. You get incredible lasting benefits from this immersive experience just by showing up and participating!  The work you do at The Expo not only changes your body for the better. It allows you to step into summer more confident, and happier than you were just days before. I see this in our family every year. And not only for my husband Brian and I but for our children. How cool is that?

It Eases Transition Time. 
We have three kids, 10, 7 and 1 - which means we have a busy school year and an even busier summer. And while kids are super excited for summer they don’t always adjust well. It goes from "We can’t wait for summer,” to, "I’m bored, there is nothing to do’”  within minutes. (If you have school aged kids you know exactly what I mean!)

I have a feeling that the MSK Grandmasters  know exactly what I meant because the Summer Expo is perfectly timed.  It's always just a few days after school is out providing the perfect transition from the classroom into summer. You have something exciting to look forward that bonds you as a family.  You are all together, working hard, striving to be your best.  You come away united and better able to take on all the upcoming summer adventures.

The Expo helps us start our summer on purpose instead of just letting it sneak up and happen to us. Which brings me to point #3….

It Sets The Tone. 
What I love about The Expo is that I know, without a doubt, that we never regret going. Yes, it is a lot of work. Yes, you are pushed out of your comfort zone. But when its all said and done you never regret it.

You know that you are a better person for the days you spend pushing yourself to be your best. Pushing yourself beyond where you thought you could go. Sure, you improve your health and fitness but you also, and perhaps more importantly, improve your mental stamina. You decide on purpose  to live outside your comfort zone. And pushing yourself, living just outside your comfort zone, is truly a secret to a successful and fulfilling life.

As a result of kicking off summer at the Moo Sul Kwan Summer Expo we choose better, more fulfilling and healthier options all summer long.  For example, for the rest of the summer we are much more likely to chose a hike than a movie after the expo.  Something about the Expo not only sets the tone but awakens us as individuals and as a family determined to strive fore more than the status-quo in all our activities.