What is Cheon-Jik?
Written by Jason Murguz as told by Grandmaster Kim Soo
A monk, a Catholic Priest, a holy man driven by a single purpose, a martial arts teacher consumed by his art, these are examples of Cheon-Jik. Meaning “Heaven’s Work or Heaven’s Job”, Cheon-Jik represents a single minded tightly focused vision of personal mission. For the founder of a martial art, there must be Cheon-Jik. There are many reasons why people want to teach martial arts; money, recognition, hobby, and to stay fit, but for the true teacher, for the founder of a system, there must be Cheon-Jik.
Cheon-Jik is not something that is innate within a person. It is something that is found through diligent, patient searching. Chongjae-Nim’s mother told him if he wanted to find water he would have to dig in one spot. You can’t find life giving water by digging a little here and a little there. Chongjae-Nim decided to dig into traditional martial arts, the results of which are Chayon-Ryu. This art, this system is his Cheon-Jik. Chonjae-nim has made it his number one priority, his all consuming passion and it has not come without great cost. He has missed birthdays, graduations, time with family, things that most of us take for granted as being a right to enjoy, are all demanded to take a secondary place when measured against his Cheon-Jik.
Grandmaster Kim Soo is one example of a person who has found his Cheon-Jik. The highest ranking Kendo master, Grandmaster Ho Ik Yong is another. Grandmaster Ho Ik Yong is the author of a book about the spiritual and combat principles of Kendo, and like Chongjae-Nim has embraced his Cheon-Jik through the continued study and practice of his art.
In conclusion, the essence of Cheong-Jik is the mission or purpose above all else. It must come first, or it is not Cheong-Jik. A policeman can have it, as can a family man, but it is not a universal idea for everyone, it is something that is found, it is chosen. Teaching martial arts for personal reasons is okay but Cheon-Jik is demands more than a passing interest, it demands unwavering loyalty above all else.