This from Erik:
Each of us have latent powers we may or may not be willing to summon. The most exciting students to watch are the ones who are willing to extend themselves and tap into that resource at the cost of potential (but momentary) humiliation.
First let’s define risk taking: I am foremost talking about the obvious expenditure of effort. Trying hard by jumping high or adding a yell may not be “cool” but it is the only way to explore and increase physical limits.
It is easier to repress and suppress powers than to focus them. Parents and teachers do this all the time in the name of safety, e.g., ‘don’t climb up there you might get hurt.’
This does nothing to help a child realize his/her potential. Granted it’s easier and safer for all concerned. Not trying is even rewarded as in, ‘thanks for being a good child.”
Imagine when a child in his/her most exhilarating moment of risk taking gets scolded or hurt, it’s the old, “I told you so…” The discouragement and shame stays with them.
So, how, as a martial arts instructor am I supposed to walk the fine line between allowing slightly risky behavior while ensuring the safety of my students? It’s a dilemma I consider every day. More on Ssang So Li Ki…
The willingness to spread the fingers, known as “Ssang So Li Ki” is an instant appraisal of a student’s skepticism and body awareness. Erik refers to it as “Fireworks” the difference between a beautiful explosion and a dud.
The students who try consistently are willing to tap into their potential by being for a moment actively aware from fingertip to toes. It’s a simple movement, it doesn’t require coordination or skill, but most people, stuck in repetitive movements and limited range of motion activities never experience this rush of sensation.
If a student is reluctant to spread the fingers, they are usually also resistant to training and through my experience to all other areas of instruction.