The Gwan is a very special place to a Martial Artist, in Japanese they use the word "Dojo" is used as the word Gwan is used. Actually the word Dojo translates as " The Place of the Art " Some translate it as The Place of the Way. In Chinese the word Wu-Gwan translates as a Martial Arts's Training Hall. In China the Gwan was where the Master was. Students would follow their chosen Masters to attain their knowledge of the Arts, where he went they followed. Wherever the Master decided to settle down and live that became place of the Gwan.
To a Martial Artist the Wu Gwan is a very place where the secret knowledge was passed on. According to tradition the Gwan symbolizes all that is taught within it walls., namely, Attention to detail, meaning the placement and arrangement of everything in its proper place. Cleanliness in two ways, the first is the Student, he had to neat and clean, this is a sign of self respect, his clothing and body always well cared for. The second is the Gwan itself, it had to be perfectly neat and spotlessly clean. Anything out of order was an indication somebody mind was not focused into detail. In combat lack of focus could cost you your life, so these matters were taken very seriously.
Gwan's could appear anywhere, on mountain tops, to deep forest hideaways. Where the Master decided to stay that's where the Gwan was built. It did not matter how fancy a Gwan is that makes it good, it is the mind set of its members that resurrects a Gwan. Small, big, fancy or not it was well kept up to a students best ability. The all seeing eye of the head Master could see the smallest discrepancy in order and the next thing to happen was everyone had to pay the price for not catching it. This formed a caring bond between students looking out for one another. If someone did something out of Tradition the classmates would quickly correct the error before the Maters spotted it.
The Gwan also teaches the meaning of courtesy, and respect, being polite and respectful of not only people but places and things as well. A Gwan teaches students to look for and seize opportunities as they arise, this is part of the training to develop the warrior mind. A Gwan training teaches the students to push them self beyond what they think is their limitations. A Gwan teaches the importance of hard work and constant practice. A Gwan teaches the importance and value of developing great patience. Only fools rush in, as they saying goes. Martial Artists never rush, rather we move slow and steady, watching each step of the way. A Gwan teaches the connection between Mind Body and Spirit , to transform a student to that of a whole and complete person..
As you can see, a Gwan is a special place of learning and transforming into that of a Martial Artist. Some of the nicest people in the world are martial artists. The are capable people, trust worthy, loyal, honest, and just. The have overcome their most inner inhibitions. They are confident, and capable, and intelligent, all of which comes from the Gwan training. They are family, bound together by the hard work sweat and trails of victories and defeats they all have faced together. They are bound by the oath they all have take to perfect the Way. The share the same beliefs and goals so they remain close throughout life as brothers and sisters, all taught within the walls of the Home Gwan. The bottom line is, Gwan training is a focus on character building not only skill building. Punching and kicking can be learned quickly but without the right mind set, it is all a waste of time. The Gwan teachings builds a person from the inside out, not the out side in.
In short Gwan's have lasted hundreds of years as s special place to those in training, our home away from home, our refuge for learning and developing our self to the fullest potential. Unlike a church or temple we don't look to God for help, we look to our selves to make the necessary changes to better our self. God helps those who help them selves and the Gwan is the means for all this happen. This is a Gwan, a very special place indeed........