THE COMPLETE MARTIAL ARTS SCHOOL                   Lombard, Illinois  (630) 620-7170                   Naperville, Illinois  (630) 983-9863

Learned Helplessness

Rank Test Lecture by Grandmaster Gedo Chang
October 20, 2017

Dr.  Martin Seligman Psychology professor in Pennsylvania University experimented on helplessness using dogs.  He put a dog in a small box which the dog could not move around freely and he gave electric shock to the dog.  Of course  the dog at 1st tried to avoid the electric shock. But a few times later the dog stood still accepting the pain of the electric shock.  So the dog became helpless.  Dr. Seligman then  removed the dog to a bigger box, where the dog could move freely and again he gave the dog electric shock.  The dog did not show any will to escape from the shock, just trembled.
This is called learned helplessness. Later Dr. Seligman tried to help the helpless dog to escape from the shock by putting a collar and leash on him.  He forcibly pulled the leash while the electric shock was administered to help the dog escape from the box.  On average about 70 times later the dog reluctantly moved out of the box.   Some dogs moved after 250 pulls on the leash.  After the dogs escaped from the electric shock , when they were put back into the box they voluntarily escaped at the very 1st attempt. We can easily understand that learned helplessness is not because of a situation but a negative interpretation of the situation.
A very similar experiment was done by Dr. Paul Richter at John Hopkins University  in the 1950s. He was physiological psychologist.  He also experimented why helplessness happens and how to cure it. Dr. Richter took rats from the same litter and devided into two groups.  Group A (The squeezed rats).  Another words the rats in group A were put in the  experimenters hand and whenever the rat struggled to get away the experimenter would squeeze stronger and stronger.  Later the rat became helpless. 

And even when the experimenter opened his hand the rat would not escape,  trembling.   Then he put these helpless rats into a water tank and observed how long they would swim. 30 minutes on average they could swim before they drowned.
On the contrary the rats in Group ‘B’ were never squeezed, they also were put into the same water tank and they on average swam 64 hours and longer!  Which is almost 3 days.  However when the Group A (Squeezed rats) were about to drown after only 25 minutes, Dr. Richter picked them up from the water tank and placed them in his hand again and he tried to help them struggle to escape!  By pushing them with his finger.  Later the rats could not endure the experimenter’s physical harassment  so they reluctantly escaped.    Those same rats that escaped the 1st time, immediately and voluntarily escaped each time after.

Then Dr. Richter put the escaped rats back into the water tank and observed how how  long they would swim. Surprisingly just like Group B the controlled rats they also swam on average 64 hours. So to speak the squeezed rats recovered their own capability.
Dr. Seligman called this phenomenon “Behavior Immunization”. From these experiments we can learn several things.

1.  When you do something regardless of your failure of 2 or 3 times, don’t Despair, keep on trying over and over until you succeed.Thomas Edison who invented the light bulb, he experimented 2000 times! And  he succeeded on 2001 times.  He said:  I practiced 2000 times and I succeeded at once!  He also said :  “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up.”
The most certain way to succeed is always to try one more time!
2. We must understand we have never been educated by the perfect parents, teachers, neighbors or other leaders. So do not complain and blame others and or situations. And so we ourselves must  try to change ourselves. 
3. We should know our destiny is not determined by the situation, rather by  the  way we interpret the situation. 4. Let’s be more positive. Particularly we should change our language. Keeping  in mind to use more positive words! In the 19th century William Ellery Channing a Pastor in Boston said: Our biggest tragedy in humanity is not any catastrophe but wasting our great inner potential!
Thank you , 
Grand Master Gedo Chang

The Fox and the Stork

Rank Test Lecture by Grandmaster Gedo Chang
August 18, 2017

I believe everyone is familiar with Aesop’s Fables -- there is a story about a fox and a stork in Aesop’s Fables.  One day, the fox invited the stork to dinner.  The dinner menu was soup.  However, the soup was served in a very wide and shallow dish.  The fox easily ate the delicious soup, but the stork could not enjoy the soup – he could only wet his beak, because his beak was too long!  So the stork did not enjoy the dinner and felt very uncomfortable.  The stork thanked the fox anyway, and promised to invite the fox to dinner in return.
 A few days later, the stork invited the fox to dinner.  The dinner menu was fish.  However, the fish was served in a long jar, a jar with a long neck.  The stork could put his long beak into the jar and enjoy the fish, but the fox could not put his snout into the jar – he could only lick the top of the jar!  So this time, the fox was the one that was hungry and uncomfortable.  The stork had taken revenge of the fox for his previous bad manners.
 Jonathan Swift, known as the author of Gulliver’s Travels, once said, “Good manners is the art of making those people easy with whom we converse. Whoever makes the fewest people uneasy is the best bred in the room.”  Manners is behavior based upon etiquette.  Etiquette is the expression of respect and love and consideration for others.
 Emily Post, well known as the author of the 20th century book, Etiquette, wrote in her 1st edition of Etiquette – “Consideration of the rights and feelings of others is not merely a rule for behavior in public, but the very foundation upon which social life is built.”
 An ancient Greek philosopher, Callon, said, “To become strong is to become more merciful.”  Mercy is the understanding, forgiveness, respect and consideration for others.  In other words, it means love!
 You are getting stronger and more confident through the hapkido discipline.  It does not mean that you should control and dominate by physical force!  It means the ability to control your ego very well.
 Ego is our thought, emotion, and the five physical senses.
 Sigmund Freud said that our ego is motivated to act based upon the pleasure principle, so it is very impulsive and egoistic.  Under this state, you always put yourself ahead of, and above, others.  It is impossible to understand, forgive, respect and consider others.  What I mean is, you lack etiquette.  
 Therefore, if there is someone who treats you without etiquette, it means they do not love you.  Then we become doubtful with suspicion, and we will try to separate from, or avoid, those people.  We become anxious -- this is called stress and suffering.
 A very famous Italian philosopher of the 16th century, Giordano Bruno, said, “If not for love, then no need to seek truth.”  The fact that they don’t know the truth means suffering.  
 In martial arts training, one common philosophy is “Ye Si Ye Jong”.  It means that your martial arts training starts with etiquette, and ends with etiquette.  Your strength and techniques without etiquette is nothing but rude arrogance, and very dangerous behavior in society.
 For example, when a three-year-old child plays with a knife, he or she will naturally cut himself and shed blood.  However, if the same knife is given to a chef, he will produce delicious food for everyone to enjoy!  So, we do not like people without etiquette.  Instead, we love people with good manners.
 As martial artists, we should always repent and reconsider our attitude.  We should ask ourselves, are we making others comfortable or not?
Thank you very much.
Grand Master Gedo Chang


Rank Test Lecture by Grandmaster Gedo Chang
June 23, 2017

Here I show you a letter “13”, how do you read this letter? Of course, many people are confused about this letter. However, If I show this letter in order with the other numbers framed “12, 13, 14,” then you would definitely read it as the number “13”, but if I framed it with the alphabet “A,13, C,” like this, you would read it as the letter “B”.

The reason is because of the frames, because of what surrounds it! We know this letter has not changed its position or shape. This is called “Frame” in psychology . We can interpret this frame as prejudice or viewpoint. What I mean is, when we look at the reality outside, we tend to interpret it differently, depending on our prejudice or our point of view.

For example, suppose somebody is walking into your office to talk with you, someone you have never met before. He or she could be Korean, Black, White, or Mexican. Often, we judge others according to their race. And according to our viewpoint, we then tend to already judge whether that person is arrogant, or unreliable, or lazy. We already decide how to talk and how to answer. Sometimes we even already determine the result of our conversation. But if we behave like this, we cannot truly communicate.

It is the same between parents and children. Parents lead the conversation according to their view point, and they often already determine what to say and how to reprimand. Even between a husband and wife, it is pretty much the same!

But as we know, today, this type of problem is very serious between religious groups. A famous French philosopher, Jean Jacques Rousseau, pointed out this problem. According to his suggestion, parents or leaders should not educate very young children about just one particular faith, in a “cramming” way! Because they might lose a good opportunity to learn new things, and they may refuse to accept other educational opportunities in the future.

The point that we should understand is, the more we grow physically and intellectually, the more we must abandon and destroy our prejudices and change our viewpoint. Generally speaking, a negative person will always blame others or the situation for their misfortune. So they believe the situation or the environment determines our fate. However, a positive person has a different viewpoint about the situation. In other words, the way we interpret the situation controls our fate, not the situation itself.

Former British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, said: The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity, but the optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

I would like to show you one more picture!


Among these two, which center circle is bigger than the other? Many people say figure “B” is bigger, but actually, both circles are the same size. The only difference is the frames!

Some years ago, a 17-year-old high school student joined my Daybreak Ki Meditation class along with his mother. He had a unique hair style. Many of my students were concerned about him, thinking he was a troublemaker, because his hair style was a mohawk. But later we happened to find out that the young man was waiting to begin his college life at Yale University with a full scholarship!

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to question you! No matter what you do or what your job is, are you proud of your position? Do you take pride in feeling that you are doing your best and helping others?

A man was passing a place where three stone masons were working. He asked the the first mason what he was doing. The mason replied angrily: “Can’t you see what I'm doing?!” He was mean and unhappy.

Then he questioned the second mason, and the second mason replied sharply: “I need money to survive!”

So the man moved on to the third mason, who was happily humming a song. He asked him the same question. The third mason smiled, and with a happy and pleasant tone, he said, “I am cutting stones. These stones will be the cornerstone and walls of a new church. I imagine that lots of people will come and worship here after I build these walls. I am so happy and proud to imagine this!”

Ladies and gentlemen, the secret of happiness comes from a different viewpoint or frame. The difference of frame will determine the quality of your life. If we wish to have a happier and more successful life, let’s change our viewpoint.

Thank you very much,
Grand Master Chang

Conquer Your Hatred

Rank Test Lecture by Grandmaster Gedo Chang
April 21, 2017

About 20 yrs ago, one of my Hapkido students named Lamona was working for a pizza shop. This is a
story Lamona had told me. The pizza shop he was working for was doing ok as a business. However,
somebody opened up another pizza shop a couple blocks away. Ever since then Lamona's boss (owner
of the pizza shop) became upset, angry and had anxiety. He would often say "My business will go
down and I might lose half my customers." He would often drive by the other pizza shop, to check
how many cars were in the parking lot. He started counting the cars! He often blamed the other
pizza shop owner. He was very angry and often cursed at him, in front of his employee's. Saying
"I wish he would have a car accident or a fire in his shop, so he has to close down his shop." He
would often murmur these kinds of negative thoughts.

This negative angry attitude naturally caused a uncomfortable atmosphere among his employee's and
customers. So naturally this created the main cause his business started going down. However one
day accidentally he happened to have a fire in his own kitchen of his pizza shop! Through this
fire there was a lot of damage, and the cost was to much to repair. So he finally gave up his
business and disappeared somewhere.

Ladies and gentleman,
Here are 2 lines. A and B. You can see which one is longer, of course line B is Is longer. I have
a question! How do you make this line shorter than line A? Perhaps you can bend over line B or
maybe break line B in half. Maybe just Push line B down and step on it. This is what most people
would do. Like Lamona's pizza shop owner. In other words, most people wish there opponents would
face difficulty and collapse. In this matter I would like to give you a simple and positive
answer. Without hurting or touching line B, you can draw a longer line A ! Lamona's boss ( The
pizza shop owner) felt that the other pizza shop was a competitor. Instead he should have
concentrated on improving his own business, such as better food quality, and better treatment to
employee's and customers. He was suppose to try to have better marketing.

Suppose you always wish to win 1st place in your school class, but you are always Second, because
John in your class, he always get 1st place. In this case are you Going to hate him? Curse him
and wish he would collapse or die. Do you think this is the way to possess 1st place? Don't worry
about John!! You should turn off your TV, and stop computer games and chatting. Then you will
have more time to study more diligently. So then you don't have to feel like you need to break
line B in half, or push it on the ground and step on it. What I mean is: You should draw your
line longer!!! You know Isaac Newton's 3rd law! For every action, there is a equal and opposite

I would like to introduce one simple mind principle. Like Lamona's boss, the pizza shop owner. He
cussed and hated and tried to hurt the other pizza shop. This type of negative attitude will go
deep into your mind. In psychology it is called unconsciousness. Our unconscious mind does not
know who the negative thoughts are for! It cannot distinguish if it is for you or someone else!
So the result will arise exactly the same way Lamona's boss did!
You will reap what you sow!

You know that there is a wonderful saying in the bible:
If you don't forgive others, you will not be forgiven by God!

Thank you for having listened to me,
Grand Master Gedo Chang

Let’s Make the Two Into One

Rank Test Lecture by Grandmaster Gedo Chang
December 16, 2016

Today I would like to introduce 31 statements you should not say to others, particularly to your children, according to experts in language and behavior.

Earlier this year, I believe in April, I introduced a beautiful story about Judge LaGuardia.

LaGuardia was a district court judge before becoming the 99th mayor of New York City.

One day, a poor woman was called to trial for stealing a loaf of bread. The old woman said, “I have been starving for 3 days and have lost all reason.”

Judge LaGuardia said, “I've got to punish you. The law makes no exceptions. Ten dollars or ten days in jail."

However, LaGuardia reached into his own pocket pulled out a ten dollar bill.

He said, “I am paying this fine…the reason is because I have eaten so much good food, that I have become fat, while there are many people going hungry.
I am paying my own penalty.”

He continued, “Ladies and Gentlemen, if you also agree with this, please feel free to put some money into this hat.”

The hat was passed around the courtroom and collected 47 dollars. The money was given to the woman. 47 dollars in the 1930’s was not a small amount of money.

Judge LaGuardia’s very unique, wise, and wonderful verdict became well known throughout the city. Shortly thereafter, he was elected as the mayor of New York.

Crime is not only committing bad deeds!

Crime is also avoiding and ignoring things when you can, and should, step in to help.

In the Gospel of Thomas, Pharisees questioned Jesus, “When will the Kingdom of Heaven come?”

Jesus answered, “When you make the two into one, it will come.”

Love your neighbors like you love yourself.

Buddha also taught us that existence is due to you your existence, my existence, the exisitence of others, the air, the water, the sun…so on and so forth. Thus we can not help but to love everything.

According to the Koran, If you hurt one person, you hurt mankind…but if you save one person, you save the whole world.

I’d like to conclude with a quote from Ashley Montagu, a famous anthropologist. “Without interdependence, no living groups of organisms could ever survive.”

I believe in all of you. You are all very confident people. He who has confidence always understands, forgives, and loves.

The New Year is approaching. Let us all be one.

Happy Holidays.

Master Gedo Chang


The words you should never say!

Rank Test Lecture by Grandmaster Gedo Chang
October 21, 2016

Today I would like to introduce 31 statements you should not say to others, particularly to your children, according to experts in language and behavior.

Category 1: You should not say words that will hurt or damage your children’s self-pride.
1. Are you a capable boy (girl)? (And you call yourself a boy?)
2. There, you have failed again!
3. You are nothing – you are so useless!

Category 2: Words that can kill their confidence!
4. How the heck old are you?
5. You are hopeless, impossible.
6. You are stupid – dumb.
7. You cannot do it – you can try, but I know you’re not capable!
8. You are stupid -- who do you take after??

Category 3: Words which will destroy voluntary action.
9. You are not capable of doing anything on your own, so just do as I say.
10. I am right – you don’t know anything about it.
11. Those clothes look terrible on you! You look ridiculous!
12. Keep whining and I will stop feeding you.

Category 4: The words that will make them feel burdened.
13. You had better not fail.
14. You are the only son or (daughter) for mom and dad.
15. Everything mom and dad do is for you!
16. You are the center of my life!

Category 5: Words that will cause anxiety.
17. If you don’t behave, I will abandon you.
18. If you are not going to listen to me, just get out of my sight.
19. You are not my son (or daughter).
20. I’m suffering a lot because of you!

Category 6: Words that will diminish their creativity.
21. You will understand when you grow up.
22. Don’t ask me, I am busy now!
23. Don’t waste your time on such stupid things -- just study!
24. Don’t say such non-sense.

Category 7: Words which will make them become apathetic.
25. What a surprise! You are actually studying?
26. Don’t even look up a tree that you cannot climb!
27. Acting like your children’s performance is nothing, like it is garbage to you.
28. Are you going to quit again before you finish?

Category 8: Words which will make them feel inferior.
29. Your classmate “Tom” already accomplished advanced math before you!
30. The next door boy, Bill, does well even without his parents’ help!
31. How come you are not as good as your friends?

Finally, I would ask you to honestly evaluate how you are doing as parents, elders, and teachers?

Thank you very much!

Master Gedo Chang



Rank Test Lecture by Grandmaster Gedo Chang
August 19, 2016

The Olympics are being held in Rio De Janeiro. The Korean women’s archery team has won the gold medal! This is the 8th straight consecutive gold! This is really an unbelievable miracle which has never happened before. So people all over the world are calling the Korean women’s archery team, “The Archers of God”. Of course, up to this point, there must be many reasons why they have succeeded so well.

Not only the Korean society, but the Korean Government has supported the archery team a lot, both financially and spiritually. And of course, there has been incredible effort put in by the archers! But no matter what the circumstances, the archer can maintain the same mind all the time, and that is what is impressive.

I am so interested in their spiritual training! So to speak, how to achieve that level of Mushim? Mushim is the total absorption of what you are doing! Some call it “No Mind”. In Buddhism it is called “Pyung Sung Shim”, which means -- always maintaining the same mind, no matter what is happening around you. In other words, that is the essence of the divine nature within. That I am totally one with whatever I am doing.

How to maintain purity and innocence is the main question? In order to achieve this state, the Korean archers have had their training rooted on meditation and prayer. They are also trained by sleeping in a cemetery. (A Korean cemetery is entirely different from the standard American cemetery that has nice flowers and is well lit, and exists usually in the city! Korean cemeteries are often located deep in the mountains, where there are a lot of wild animals, sometimes vicious, and they are very active at night! And there are many folklore stories about ghosts being active in cemeteries. Koreans traditionally think of cemeteries as very scary places.

The archers also sleep near a snake pit. In this training, they develop guts and the power of concentration. In other words, through this type of training, they do not discriminate! They develop the ability to not discriminate anything!

The mind of discrimination means -- one mind becomes separated into two minds. The idea that I am spending a horrible night in a scary place, or when a snake crawls over my body – an ordinary person would be frightened to death!

They also practice archery in a noisy soccer field or baseball field, filled with hundreds of people making lots of noise!

The archer would be overwhelmed by this circumstance. This is also discrimination, or two minds! In this case, naturally their pulse and heartbeat become irregular, making it hard for them to concentrate on their target. So they practice in this environment until they can attain the ability to perform subconsciously and naturally with only one mind, not two!

Ladies and gentlemen, you have heard a lot about the word “sin” in Christianity. In Hebrew it is called “chatta’ah,” meaning “missing the target” or also interpreted as “error”. In Greek it is called “hamartia,” which was used in Aristotle’s Poetics, meaning “fatal tragedy” or “big error which cannot be reversed” -- “error” or “flaw”.

Then why do we humans commit fatal errors?

Around the 4th Century BC, a Chinese philosopher and Taoist named Zhuang Zhu, explained this type of issue very well in his book named “Zhuang Zhu”.

He wrote: “An expert archer can hit ten targets 100% perfectly. This archer would be okay with a bet on worthless clay pots. However, if someone bet him gold containers that are worth a fortune, then he might miss his target by more than 30%!”

Why is that? To help you understand better, let’s say, pennies are the bet -- then it would not affect the archer. But if you say, $10,000 dollars on each target, then he would miss the target more than 30%. This is because the archer is not only thinking of the target, but he is also thinking of the money. “Two minds,” in other words, he is impure because he has two minds.

There is a maxim in Chinese Taoism: “One is purity; two is impurity”. It is also called “a corrupted mind”. This is sin! So our task is, whomever we may be, “How can we not be affected by external conditions, so we can always maintain purity with one mind!”

At every Daybreak Ki class in the morning, this is the main topic of our class.

Real peace, or the secret of real happiness, comes not from what we do or things we like to do. Rather, it comes from being one with what we are doing right at this moment. Particularly we martial artists must keep this philosophy in mind.

I believe you remember the duel between the Samurai and the Tea Master.

The Tea Master was an expert in controlling his purity without being influenced by circumstances. He had been practicing this through his tea ceremonies. But he was only a white belt in swordsmanship!

During the duel, however, when this Tea Master lifted his sword above his head, the Samurai (who was Black Belt level) became confused with a double mind! He thought to himself, “I thought this Tea Master was very small and weak, but now, based on his posture, he seems so calm and relaxed -- I must be wrong! He must be a real Master of Samurai! I have the wrong opponent.”

He started trembling and he looked at the Tea Master’s blade. The shining glare of sunlight shode red on the Tea Master’s blade. The Samurai thought to himself, “That must be my blood!” So the Samurai could not budge at all and just stood there, sweating. He knelt down and surrendered.

He said, “Master I have committed enough sin to die -- forgive me, please.”

Suppose you have a very special ability -- maybe you can jump high, about 10 feet, flying and smash ten boards. If you depend on physical ability only, you are no different from this Samurai. That Samurai was occupied with two different minds! Impurity! His thought that the red glare on the Tea Master’s blade was his own blood -- such imagination shows that he was double minded, or impure.

Always understand that we should be doing our best to hit the target, always striving to be one with what we are doing.

I want you to always be a good archer!!

Thank you very much.

Master Gedo Chang

Amazing Fight

Rank Test Lecture by Grandmaster Gedo Chang
June 24, 2016

Some years ago, one evening after night class was over and everyone had gone home, I was talking to a student of mine who was a newspaper writer in my office.
All of a sudden, two young men abruptly came into my dojang and stepped onto my mat with their dirty shoes on. They started shouting very demandingly, “Listen! Who is the Instructor of this school? Let’s have a fight!”

They were standing at the center of the mat. I said to my student, “Would you wait a moment?” and I left my office and entered the mat. I patted the back of the young men’s neck, and I said to them, “Hey, young men, you seem to be drunk -- how can you fight well when you’re drunk? If you come back tomorrow when you are sober, then I will fight you.”

I then pushed them towards the door. Then these two young men suddenly became very mild, like mice in front of a cat. They said, “OK! OK!” They quickly ran out of the dojang.
After that, I walked back into my office to resume my conversation with my student, the newspaper writer. After seeing what happened with the two young men, my student said to me, “Master Chang, I was amazed!” I then replied “Why?” He said, “Because, I thought today was the day I could witness my Master’s amazing fighting ability. Thinking this is a once in a life time opportunity, I was excited!! However, I saw there was no violence at all, and the two young men just ran away, without any resistance! So after I saw this, I started thinking that this is even more of an amazing fight!”

He added, “Master Chang, how did you control them, these rough young men who really wanted to fight!? You controlled them without violence, just with softness! It was an even more amazing fight that I got to witness!” Of course, those two young men never came back. In the moment when I was confronting the young men, I was not conscious of being a Hapkido Master, nor was I conscious of having to save face in front of my student. Everything just happened naturally.

A few years ago, as a member of a golf league, I always enjoyed gathering together socially after a golf game. However, there was a particular bully golfer who always caused trouble after he had a few drinks.
All the league members were very uncomfortable around him. They complained a lot behind his back, but they never confronted him directly. One day, on behalf of my golf buddies, I confronted him by saying, “Don’t bother them, please.”
This bully all of a sudden stood from his chair, showed me his fist, and said to me, “How dare you advise me?” and he dashed toward me with a very angry face. I kept looking straight at his face without budging from my seat. Then, he suddenly started getting a cold sweat and dropped his fist, and quietly went back to his seat. He did not cause any problems from then on, and in fact, he quit the golf league a couple weeks later.

When I confronted this bully, all my golf league members were watching, and by the way, many of my golf buddies said to each other, “I wish Master Chang would have punched his nose, but he did not do anything! Is he a real Master of Hapkido?”
However, a couple of them came up to me and said directly to me, “Master Chang, it was amazing, you are fantastic -- you knocked him down completely.”

Thank you very much.

Master Gedo Chang

Alms Giving

Rank Test Lecture by Grandmaster Gedo Chang
April 22, 2016

My students, Parents, and guests. I guess you know who Fiorello LaGuardia is. If not I am sure you know about the airport in New York Called Laguardia International airport, don’t you?

LaGuardia was the 99th mayor of the city of New York, between 1934 and 1945. He was three times consecutively elected as the mayor of New York. He was considered one of the best mayors in New York history. LaGuardia airport was named after him to commemorate
his outstanding work and accomplishments. Before he became the city mayor, he was working as a judge.

One day a poor old man was called to trial for stealing bread, because he was hungry and starving. Judge LaGuardia sentenced him with a $10.00 fine. However, Judge LaGuardia said “I am going to pay this $10.00 fine for him”. He searched his wallet and pulled out $10.00 and paid the $10.00 fine. Then he seriously said to the court room audience: “The reason I am paying this fine is because I have eaten so much good food, that I have become fat, while there are many hungry people existing. I am paying for my own penalty (fine) also.

Judge LaGuardia continued saying “Ladies and Gentlemen, if you also Agree with this, please feel free to put money in this hat.” He then passed his hat around the court room and collected a total of $47.00. Then Judge LaGuardia gave the money to the poor old man.

Judge LaGuardia’s very unique, wise, and wonderful verdict happen to be known throughout the city. A short while after the incident, he was elected as mayor of New York.

A few years ago. An eleven year old boy donated $100.00 dollars to a charity organization with a letter saying: “Please give this money to the poor and hungry people, I feel terribly sorry I have eaten so much good food that I have become fat”.

Crime is not only to commit bad deeds! I want you to know, morally speaking crime is also avoiding and Ignoring things that you can and should step in and help out!

A long long time ago, A poor man came up to Buddha and said “Buddha, you always preach that we should help others, however I am so poor, that I have nothing to offer. What can I do then”? Upon This question Buddha described, the different types of Almes giving.

1. To teach the truth, for the people who are living in the darkness.
2. Helping by giving materials, money, food, clothing, ect..
3. To help others reduce fear or anxiety, help them become comfortable. Help the sick and needy.

In other words, always use good and positive words with a smiling face, always praising and encouraging others. Always be kind and cordial with etiquette. Taking care of and respecting elders and people in need. Yielding your seat to the people who need help in the subway or on a bus. Carrying luggage for old or sick people. Always make others happy. In this respect, not only giving money, food or cloths. Monetary giving is not the only alms giving”. There are so many things we can do. Help your parents, by washing dishes or cleaning house. You can shovel the driveway of your neighbor who is old and or suffering illness. You can do your best to get better school grades, so your parents become happy.

You can also protect someone who is being bullied. You can control a situation, perhaps a robbery or child abuse. You can step in and help out! This is also Alms giving.

All of you are so confident. Through Hapkido discipline, so you have the ablity to step in and help. But I want you to know, do not brag when you do something good. Don’t be arrogant. As you know the scripture in the bible “Mathew 6 verse 3” “When you help, don’t let your left hand know when your right hand does good things” As a matter of fact, According to the Koran: Demonstrating your own merit is the lowest level of Alms giving. Yet to me, it is still a act of love. It is better to give, even with arrogance than not to give at all, rather than being just a spectator.

I believe you remember a few months ago, I recommended you to read a particular book written by Stephen Post “Why good things happen to good people” According to this book, forgiving others, and helping others makes you live a much healthier, happier and longer life as compared to those who do not practice: giving, forgiveness, helping and loving. This is a medically well proven truth.

Let us forgive others, lets help others and let’s love others. Your immediate answer , when others question you on what you have gained from Hapkido is “Confidence” Then this is what confident people do! Give, help, forgive and Love. Let us live longer, happily with good health!!

Thank you

Master Gedo Chang

Voluntary Action

Rank Test Lecture by Grandmaster Gedo Chang
February 19, 2016

Freud said that the main motive of human action is “Wish” WISH. However, my viewpoint is different. Wish plus positive expectation is the prime motive for voluntary action. In other words, without the positive expectation that I can control any problems around me, one will not act voluntarily and will become inactive.

The Galileans believed that all animals act voluntarily in nature, by the so-called instinct. But the Aristotelians’ viewpoint is that all animals, including humans, definitely need incentive for voluntary response. I am very much attracted by Aristotelians’ theory. What I mean is that this voluntary action will occur when I have faith that my action will be successful. If not, when I realize that controllability is impossible, I will naturally become inactive.

The main motive in voluntary action requires an incentive. I call this confidence. For example, when someone is being bullied, if he or she has no confidence, they will become inactive. However, an even more serious problem is when he or she perceives the uncontrollability of the situation and automatically becomes depressed, because this creates hopelessness, which often becomes the main cause of suicide.

Many experts who have studied the importance of voluntary action have talked about the need or drive to master the environment. The need to master the environment could be more pervasive than sex, hunger, and thirst, in the lives of animals and human beings. For instance, even play among young children is motivated, not by biological drives, but by competence drive. This means a drive to avoid helplessness.

When cockroaches fight, the loser naturally becomes inactive and becomes helpless. Even though there is no physical injury, the cockroach that lost in the fight soon dies. This is a very interesting fact to us.

I would like to introduce the results of a very particular experiment done by a psychologist named CP Richter in 1957. The experiment was done with wild rats.
He took the wild rats from the same litter and divided them into two groups. Group 1 was the squeezed rats. Group 2 was the un-squeezed rats. The experimenter put a rat from group 1 in his hand and started squeezing. Of course, the rat in his hand struggled to escape from his grip, but the experimenter would squeeze harder and harder whenever it struggled to get away. He repeated this several times. Afterwards, the rat became inactive. After that, the experimenter opened his hand and left it open, but the rat did not escape -- it just trembled in his hand.

In other words, the circumstance was now good for the rat to escape, but the rat had the idea that it was impossible to escape because of the negative expectation that he could not escape from the grip. This is called “Learned Helplessness”. The experimenter put the helpless rat in a water tank to see how long it would swim. The squeezed helpless rat was about to drown 30 minutes later. He also put the un-squeezed rats from Group 2 in the water tank -- the un-squeezed rats swam for 63 hours before they drowned.

However, a more shocking fact is this: The squeezed rat that swam for only 30 minutes -- the experimenter picked it up right before it drowned and put it in his hand. Of course, the rat did not want to escape, remaining helpless. The experimenter intentionally trained the helpless rat to escape the open hand. Reluctantly, the rat jumped out of his hand, not because he wanted to, but mainly because the experimenter forced the rat to do so. But because of this one successful escape, the rat became confident. Whenever he put the rat in his hand, the rat now jumped out voluntarily. Then he put the rat back into the water tank again. Amazingly the rat swam 63 hours, just like the Group 2 rats (the un-squeezed rats). Thirty minutes versus 63 hours is a tremendous difference. This is because the squeezed rat regained the innate capability.

This is called in psychology, “Behavior Immunology.”

Ladies and Gentlemen, not only adults but our children are the beings that have been squeezed, at one time or another. Parents often say, “Don’t do this,” or “Don’t do that,” or “Don’t go near the water, you might drown.” Always threatening.
Instead we should say “Try it,” “Do it,” “Go for it,” and “Try again”!

We should teach them how to swim! We must educate and raise our children as confident people. So please don’t say to your children or to others, “You are stupid (or dumb).” Don’t make someone feel helpless by saying, “You cannot do anything correctly.” We should stop this type of talk because it will cause helplessness in our children, and they will naturally become hopeless and depressed.

When our children are suffering from helplessness and depression, their life span becomes shorter. This is a well-known fact discussed by many experts. Their immune system becomes weak and vulnerable, so that they become sick both mentally and physically. And not only that, at the same time, motivational and intellectual despair are caused.

Dr. Martin Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, proved this phenomenon. Dr. Seligman warned parents, teachers and leaders not to treat children in a way that causes helplessness and depression. If we see this type of behavior, we must push our children to overcome it. Psychologists advise us to be forceful with our children where lack of confidence is concerned. We must push them until they can regain confidence, like the squeezed rat in the water tank.

Behavior therapist James Geer said: “If I have a helpless patient like this, I would give him a swift kick to get him going.”

There are many parents who educate their children by saying “If you want to, you can do it” or “If you don’t want to, you don’t have to.”. This method will have a negative effect on our children. It will cause inactive helplessness and depression. If our children have faith that their parents are always taking care of them, it is okay to have that faith, but they need to be more active and confident with that faith. No matter what kind of faith you may have, always be active, positive, and do your best.

An empirical philosopher from England, Francis Bacon, once said: “Look at the dog, he has caught a lion with the belief his Master is standing behind him.”
Ladies and gentlemen, don’t worry and be happy!

Your children at Chang’s Hapkido Academy are doing wonderful! They can catch lions. Confidence development is the main goal of Chang’s Hapkido Academy.

Thank you very much.
Master Gedo Chang

Be Brave

Rank Test Lecture by Grandmaster Gedo Chang
December 18, 2015

I have been giving you a talk after every rank test. The topics have mainly been about the confidence you receive through Hapkido discipline.
According to the dictionary, confidence means self-reliance. Confidence does not mean that a person is forceful or manipulative. On the contrary, a confident person forgives and loves others with humility.
I have been emphasizing this truth.

To love others and be humble means lowering the self and elevating others. A very famous Sufi sage in the 11th century, called “Ansari of Herat”, once said:
“When you become a pilgrim on the road of love, the first condition is that you make yourself humble as dust and ashes.”

Confucius once was asked by his disciple Ahnfwi:
“What is the best way to become ‘Junji’”? (Junji is Chinese - it means “born again” or “enlightenment” in religions.)
Confucius replied, “Curb your ego and surrender to Li.” Li means, heavenly law, moral law, and any other laws to maintain this world safe and peaceful.
Curb your ego, means to overcome your selfish ego and obey Li. Practically speaking, it means to love God.

St Augustine, in his confession, said:
“Love God first, and do what you will.”
I believe it means, when one loves God first, his own speeches and actions are naturally correct.

A 17th century Japanese Zen Master, “Buhnan”, also said the same thing:
“While living, be a dead man, thoroughly dead, and act as you will, then everything will be correct.”
Dead man, in this instance, does not mean physically dead - it means, as Confucius said, “Curb your ego”.

Another important factor is that there is no “I” that is eternal or everlasting, unchanging. Without understanding this simple truth, we tend to be attached to self, so we always insist “Me first”.
All sages throughout time have said that this is the main cause of suffering. In other words, we should understand the existence of “I” is only possible when other existences exist. I cannot live even a minute without the existence of others such as you, the neighbors, the sun, water, air, etc….
The only way for me to be able to exist is to have a “You first” attitude, so we love others. This is the truth. Confucius, Plato, and all the other sages of mankind agreed that the person who follows this heavenly law is courageous.

Now we are at the end of 2015. We will close the dojangs between Dec. 23rd and Jan. 3rd of 2016. Around this time every year, very common greetings are “Happy Holidays,” Merry Christmas,” and “Happy New Year”! Frankly speaking, “Happy Holiday” does not come free! We must always think, “My happiness depends on how I have been helping, forgiving, and loving others in the past and present.”
We will reap as we sow!

Good things will happen to good people who help, forgive and love. Stephen Post wrote a book named, Why Good Things Happen to Good People. In that book, he presents very scientific and statistical evidence that good people live longer and have much better health. I would highly recommend this book for you to read.
As Ashley Montagu, a very famous 20th century Anthropologist said:
“Without interdependence, no living group of organisms could ever survive.”
We should keep in mind this wisdom, so we can love more, forgive more, and be humble more. This is the way we can survive, live a happy life.

Thank you.
Master Gedo Chang

Chang's Academy
230 S Main St, Lombard, IL 60148
(630) 620-7170


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1233 S Naper Blvd, Naperville, IL 60540
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