From October 7th to 13th, in Incheon, Korea, took place an awesome week of practice with the Ko Dan Ja shimsa candidates as well as officials, visitors and the Youth leader representatives. The Youth group included 18 students from 13 countries, from Red belt to 6th dan, invited by World Moo Duk Kwan.
At the orientation meeting Kwan jang nim asked us “how to honor those who have built today ?” This question is pretty much linked with the idea of tradition : what goes from the past to the future through the present new generation. The transmission happens if there are people to experience and fertilize it in the present. Therefore the question was also for the Youth representatives “to belong to their time”.
What we discussed in our meetings was a way to organize ourselves : how to appoint the Youth representatives in each country and what should be their tasks ? how to organize and share the work among our group at the international level ? We also had to present a demonstration at the end of the week.
Another point was to find a way to use and communicate on and with social media. What do we want to show/share and why ? One night a video project was discussed and elaborated quickly and quite unanimously. Later, we established deadlines in order to make it happen for the 71st Moo Duk Kwan anniversary on November 9th. There were finally 2 versions, a“trailer” and a complete version. The latter included all videos whereas the former was intended to be funny and striking, using very short pieces from the YL videos and featuring figures in motion borrowed from the Moo Yei Do Bo Tong Ji, the book which was so important to Kwan jang nim Hwang Kee : Not without irony, the trailer gave quite a good idea of what flowed through us during the week : the spirit of an adventure.
What adventure exactly ? After all, we did common things for an international one week seminar : training, meeting, working on a group project. Nothing but classical for a Ko Dan Ja shimsa. But there was a smell of an adventure thanks to an unusual trust between us, such a trust you can call brotherhood ; “fraternité” as we say in French. Fraternité (or was it sisterhood) needed especially to face desagreements, fatigue, impatience…
We also all felt to various degrees, that we were living something unique. We shared the joy of doing something together for the first time : without any blueprint or clear idea of what we would obtain in the end. Without our thoughts turned to the past, or towards “being the future”. We were only living the present.
The banquet stood as a symbol of this state of mind. A gathering of super lively normal human beings. Koreans sing often very well during the “norebang” (karaoke) but that night, everyone seemed to be very talented: dancers, drummers, comedians...
The spirit of adventure was also on the way to run the video project, the first visible collective action the Youth group achieved : The editor from Mexico, Jaime Ambriz took the responsibility for weaving together the different pieces from each video. He was by himself with our video material, separated from most of us by thousands of miles . There was no doubt we had to let him do it the way he wanted. And let him have the final cut on his work, because even if “We do not agree with what you say, We will protect your right to say it”.
It was an enriching experience : to become more aware of what an international group is, to observe how alliance emerge between some countries, how disagreements appear even when not publicly discussed … How could we avoid native English speakers to take the upper hand, not thanks to the strength of their ideas but because they are able to express them more easily ? How to prevent the natural tendancy that the Senior ranks take the lead in a group with such differences in ages and ranks,? Finally, how do we proceed so everyone can voice his concern and be heard ? How do we give an equal right and legitimacy to talk ?
The whole process was not obvious and a constant watchfulness was required, if not a perpetual struggle for building this small worldwide public sphere.
I would like to thank first and foremost all those who welcomed and helped the Youth group in Korea, but also the first Youth ambassadors of 2009 in Atlanta, Fabian Markl from Switzerland, Stephen Mc Grath from Australia and Spiros Spatoulas fom Greece. 7 years after their own experience, they provided feedbacks on it and allowed us not to start from scratch.
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