April 16, 2024

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My Perspective on Perseverance by KJN Ronald Stone

Perseverance is doing something despite difficulty or delay to achieve success. This concept is so important to the study of Korean martial arts that it is considered one of the five tenets.

    During one's study of the martial arts the concept of perseverance is learned more than it is taught.  It is realized through one's training and advancement over the course of time. This is particularly important in Hapkido.

There is an old saying which says that things that come quickly and easily do not usually hold great value, and that anything worth doing is worth doing well.  To achieve rank, status and more importantly, knowledge, a martial artist must personally dedicate time, effort, and energy.    The very definition of rank as an indicator of knowledge and ability means that it is achieved only by a student overcoming and mastering the skill and knowledge set created by the style for each level of training.  

Whatever the reasons one has for training in Hapkido or other martial arts, be they self-defense, physical fitness, health benefits or anything else, it requires a commitment to attending class for extended periods of time, recognizing, and obeying the rules and requirements put forth by the school, mastering the skill set for the various levels and then demonstrating them as proof of ability and knowledge gained.


It is said that of every thousand students who enter the martial arts only one to four percent achieve the rank of first-degree black belt. Obviously then this means that the path of study must be an arduous and lengthy one.  

To persevere means to overcome difficulty, and since the average martial arts style takes from 1.5 to 5 years to achieve black belt status and proficiency, the mere fact that one must comply with scheduling and attendance requirements, to progress physically through body building, flexibility training, and to master the complex technical skills for the various ranks clearly means that they have persevered.  In other words, if it were easy everyone would be a black belt.

In the military the elite special forces units have always recruited, trained, tested, and accepted only the type of soldier, sailor or airman who would persevere against great odds.  It goes without saying that capturing the beaches at Tarawa, climbing the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc and attacking and killing Osama Bin Laden were not achieved by the type of men who quit when the going got tough.  They were soldiers who understood the importance of perseverance. 

Since at their very core martial arts like Hapkido are about training and learning “martial” skills and those who instruct such arts are clearly aware of the importance of encouraging and training this concept into their disciples.  Whether promoting a martial art or martial sport, the sentiment “Never give up, never surrender” is a hallmark of proper instruction.

Ronald W. Stone, D.V.M.
8th Dan, HaeMuKwan Hapkido
American Dragon Martial Arts Academies

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