Sin Moo Hapkido as a supplement to healing.

Posted in Sin Moo Hapkido on October 25, 2009 by lbetson

The Way

About a year and half ago I was diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease. At first I was very worried, I had no idea what to expect and to what degree I would be affected by the disease.  Can the practice of Sin Moo Hapkido aid in the well being of a person? Can this practice aid in your efforts to heal? Is exercise, by itself enough for the whole being?

My experience is such that exercise alone will not heal the body. As a practitioner in the art of Sin Moo Hapkido we are told that there is definite link with the mind, body, and spirit and these three components are not separate from one another but one, and that each is complimentary to the other.

To be well one has to consider the whole person, which in the West is a different idea. Medicine in the West concentrates on symptom relief and often times, not the underlying cause. The practice of Sin Moo Hapkido can benefit in many ways towards total healing, not by itself, but as a supplement to a healthy lifestyle. Which includes proper diet, exercise, sleep, stress relief, and in my case various supplements to create an atmosphere within in my body to aid in healing. The body knows how to heal a cut, so why should this be any different then other illnesses?

In Sin Moo Hapkido one of the things that we do is a breathing technique called “Dan Jun” breathing. Dan Jun breathing has been used for hundreds, if not thousands, of years in various forms and under various names throughout Asia. The term Dan Jun refers to a Korean technique of breathing to increase health, control of the mind, body connection and to development power beyond that of the physical. Dan Jun breathing has been proven to increase health and vitality as well as decrease various physical ailments and long term symptoms. The act of deep concentrated breathing oxygenates the blood. This is not only good for overall health, but in the case of Lyme disease this can be very beneficial. The Lyme spirochete has a very strong aversion to oxygen as well as heat.

The physical aspect of this art has many benefits. For the person with Lyme our bodies are full of toxins. When the spirochete die off it causes endo-toxins to be released into the bloodstream which can make the person very ill. The physical practice elevates the body temperature causing you to sweat. The skin is like the third kidney which is especially good in the release of toxins from the body. Another health aspect is the effect that the practice has on the lymphatic system. Without adequate movement, the cells are left stewing in their own waste products and starving for nutrients, a situation which contributes to arthritis, cancer and other degenerative diseases as well as aging. Vigorous exercise such as Sin Moo Hapkido can increase lymph flow by 15 to 30 times, also acting as another detoxifier as well.

Another component of the practice is meditation. The benefits of a meditative state are numerous. Actual scientific study has shown to increase grey matter in the brain. The structural changes were found in areas of the brain that are important for sensory, cognitive and emotional processing. This is very beneficial when dealing with any form of chronic illness. The undue effects that stress cause on the body are immeasurable. The fight or flight system, that as human beings, used to serve us very well when confronted with an animal in the wilderness, can have an adverse reaction on the way the body heals itself. Today there are many researchers trying to see just how our thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, emotions and health affect each other. In fact, scientists have even developed a new branch of medicine to explore the link between emotions and the immune system. Then, as scientists are prone to do, they gave this new field a long name — psychoneuroimmunology — although in medicine’s love of acronyms, they frequently shorten it to PNI.

In closing, will the practice of “Sin Moo Hapkido” alone heal the body and mind of illness, no. Healing, in my experience, has been a journey of trial and error. Healing can take place, your body knows how to heal, but the necessary components need to be aligned. This is where the mind, body, spirit, connection comes into play. Healing is an entire life style change and the benefits of “Sin Moo Hapkido” have been very beneficial to me as a supplement to my overall well being.

To quote Deepak Chopra, “The physical world, including our bodies, is a response of the observer. We create our bodies as we create the experience of our world.”


Gold Medal Family Karate – Black Belt Test

Posted in General Martial Arts on October 22, 2009 by lbetson

Congratulations to all my fellow “Moosa” on obtaining the rank of Black Belt, you are an inspiration. I created a “Youttube” video of some pictures from this event. I hope you enjoy it.

Doing without thought.

Posted in The Way on October 16, 2009 by lbetson

Have you ever wanted to act but the thinking mind got in the way? I had an opportunity to experience this first hand a few weeks ago during my ‘Sin Moo Hapkido’ training. Techniques that I thought I knew quite well, at least under very controlled circumstances, evaded me when thrown out on the mat and having several fellow Moosa attack me various different ways with resistance. Not only was the experience an eye opener, it made me reflect on a discipline known in Zen as ‘Mushin’, translated “no mind” or ‘mind of no mind’. This means to be void of thought allowing the subconscious to direct any actions. How useful this can be not only in life and death situations but in coming to a place within the present moment, the unified field of all possibilities.

To do something without thought takes hundreds or thousands of repetitions over a long time. It must be so ingrained into your body that it does not require a thought process to complete. It must become a part of you, muscle memory. Which is why my Wednesday night practice sessions over the past few weeks have been so helpful? Our instructor has us, very slowly, going over the basics, referred to in ‘Sin Moo Hapkido’ as; the basic eight. We are really, examining the finer points of technique that we, for all intents and purposes, should know already. The fact is we do know but we are missing details, the finer points. This type of practice can become useful in becoming embedded with Mushin, or no mind. To become the cup, to quote Bruce Lee, to adapt to any circumstance, without thinking.

The legendary Zen master Takuan Sōhō said:
“The mind must always be in the state of ‘flowing,’ for when it stops anywhere that means the flow is interrupted and it is this interruption that is injurious to the well-being of the mind. In the case of the swordsman, it means death. When the swordsman stands against his opponent, he is not to think of the opponent, or of himself, or of his enemy’s sword movements. He just stands there with his sword which, forgetful of all technique, is ready only to follow the dictates of the subconscious. The man has effaced himself as the wielder of the sword. When he strikes, it is not the man but the sword in the hand of the man’s subconscious that strikes.”

How can this be applied in daily living? With an attitude of ‘flowing’ we may achieve happiness and balance, allowing life to flow with the least amount of disagreements and conflicts. By doing so, we create a positive influence, not only in our own lives, but on everything around us, naturally rippling away…













Can you be here…Now?

Posted in The Way on June 2, 2009 by lbetson

Just the other night at Hapkido training one of my instructors, Mr. Garemore, was discussing the now. This is something that I resonate with and try to achieve in my daily life. So what exactly does this mean to be present? To be here now? How does this pertain to martial arts and further, your life. Does this mean that we do not plan or concern ourselves with the future, no. That could be something that you can do now.

In truth, many of us live ‘everywhere’ except the present moment. We spend a lot of time dwelling on the past and worrying about the future. I have heard comments such as, I have a lot to do, but what is the quality of your doing? This concept is sometimes referred to as mindfulness. If we live our lives mindfully we will get more out of life.

In martial arts this helps us focus our attention on what is, here and now. It helps to remove self doubt because when you are truly present there is no room for past or future thoughts. Often times I have heard this referred to as, “being in the flow”. Or, in Zen referred to as ‘Mushin’ or “Mind of no mind’.

So how do I start becoming more present?

Before you begin try and tune into yourself. Listen to your breathing. Hear the sounds of the room. Feel your heartbeat. Take notice to what you are thinking and feeling. What sensations do you feel in and around your body. This is awareness. Be the observer. If you  have kids or you have watched children play, you will notice that they are always in the present moment. They laugh, run, jump, skip, and play with not a care in the world. This is a good example of how we should live.

Here a few tips that I have found helpful.

  • One thing you can do is stare at an object. See how the light hits it. Look at the shape, the color, the size.
  • When you do an activity, even a the most mundane thing, whether it’s brushing your teeth or stepping on to an elevator – observe what you are doing. Watch the elevator door open, what shapes, sounds, smells do you notice? Watch the water hitting the toothbrush, feel the bristles on your teeth, how does the toothpaste taste. These are just examples of course.
  • If you start feel and stress about the future or regrets about the past, stop and ask yourself, “how do I feel right now?”, ” is there anything wrong right now in this moment”, not five minutes from now, right now. If you are feeling good in this moment be thankful be grateful that everything right now is just fine.
  • If you are dwelling on the past there is nothing that you can do to change that now. What you can do is learn from it. You can’t undo what has been done, but you can change how you look at it, and see value in it by a lesson learned.

Once you start observing more and start tuning into present moment thought, your life will start to change dramatically. You will start to feel lighter and at peace. You may even start to laugh at the mind chatter.

Remove the doubt

Posted in The Way on April 22, 2009 by lbetson


I often here words from individuals like can’t or not me or I’m just not good at this or that. I completely understand there was a time when I used words like these.  At one point or other, self-doubt has engulfed us all.  It could be a result of wavering mind, failure to achieve something, people’s lack of faith in our ability or adverse comments by peers or colleagues.  It leads to a state of confusion, lack of confidence and low self-esteem.  However, to move ahead, we need to remove the doubt that it’s possible.

Tell yourself that the failure is a steeping stone to success.  Learn from failure.  Do not see it as a setback or end.  Begin a new. It is essential to not let the feeling of doubt drag you down.  Do not give up.  If you are not able to get over doubt, just stop thinking and start doing.  Just take the plunge and do not look back.

If you can open yourself up to the idea that there are endless possibilities for what you want to create or bring into your life amazing things will happen. Make a decision today to live the life that you dream and remove the lie that you can’t. This is a common thread that moves through certain individuals. Turn off the inner dialogue and trust your intention to create the life you’ve imagined.

Womens self defense…be the lion.

Posted in Training on April 17, 2009 by lbetson

So, the other night I went to my regularly scheduled Hapkido class only to find out that there was an error on the schedule and that they were conducting a women’s self defense class. I thought, great I wanted to train in Hapkido may as well leave. I was asked, among other individuals in the class if we would like to stick around and offer some assistance. I figured why not I am here anyway.

The instructor conducting the class was Master Scott Yates, who is also one of my Sin Moo Hapkido instructors and is a wealth of information on many topics, wise beyond his years, I resonate with his world view in many ways. He doesn’t just walk the walk he is truly living the “Do” or the “Way”.

We started out trying to work on intuition, you know that gut feeling you get when someone is creeping up behind you. The exercises was to approach someone and as soon as the get that odd feeling or as soon as their comfort zone felt violated to let us know. Then we tried this with our eyes closed and it was amazing to see someone creeping up on the side of someone, to see with the persons eye’s closed, how an individual would respond and amazingly, more times then not, that you would see a body twitch or reaction coming from the direction of the approaching antagonist.

As the class got moving is was time to build up the women’s confidence by asserting yourself with your voice and more importantly your confidence and intent. It’s not how loud you yell, although that helps, it had alot to do with projecting your intention or thoughts if you will. Everyone has this ability but we seldom tap into it. As Master Yates explained you need to be the lion. Just like the wild unfortunately certain people prey on the weak. So we all worked on projecting our voice as well as make the person feel your confidence which most definitely could be felt as the exercises continued and the ladies began to focus more. You could see with each succession and a building of confidence.

The idea is to create enough time to get away as well as make the attacker feel very uncomfortable that they chose you as a victim. It was amazing how certain people reacted and or chose not to react, if you know what I mean. My hope is they take these things that they have learned and apply them in their daily life. You may never get attacked as a matter of fact the statistics are quite low however like most things in your life their has to be a knowing. A knowing will never let you down. Things need to flow naturally or they will not work when the pressure is on and the adrenaline is pumping. So you must practice, practice, practice so it becomes a muscle reflex. So when in the moment you can flow.

I am glad I was asked to help out even though I started out reluctant and disappointed that I could not do my normal training there were definite lessons to be learned and could most certainly apply to my own training. The key is to be open and learn everyone has something to give to you to teach you be receptive to this.

Eating before training…yeeesh

Posted in Training on April 9, 2009 by lbetson

I usually make it a rule to give myself at least an hour to eat before I train…ehem. Well, lst night was not one of those nights. Word of caution bad idea to shovel down hot and spicy shrimp about 20 minutes before you train. I think everything would have been fine otherwise but last night we were doing mutliple different types of sparring. The one that did me in was were trying to unbalance our opponent and in doing that I was tossed around in a circle. Well, that caused me to be extremely dizzy. So I sat down on the mat and tried to compose myself…breathe….larry…breathe….relax. I had a hard time shaking it and then I could feel my dinner wanting to come up. So off I run to the bathroom and sure enough out comes my dinner. I thought ok at least it’s out and I will be able to continue, no such luck. No sooner did I leave the bathroom but to find myself in the bathroom again yaking up more of my dinner. Hot and spicy shrimp is not that great the second time around if you know what I mean.  This is very abnormal for me. I usually feel much better during training. I mean I’ve been out of breath or feel week but never to point of puking. I’m sure the kicks and palm strikes to the chest weren’t helping much.

So what did I learn from this.

  2. If you are going to eat something don’t eat greasy hot and spicy shrimp
  3. If you do in fact do the above make sure you don’t try to kill your opponent and at least take it easy when sparring. Although I would opt to heed my warning.