These following articles are copied directly from the Encyclopedia and other Taekwon-Do handbooks
Since Taekwon-Do is an art of self defense which aims at a noble moral rearmament, high degree of intellectual achievement, graceful techniques, formidable power and beauty of physical form, it can be considered as a part of one’s daily life, just as are breathing and thinking.
As the founder of Taekwon-Do, I would like to define its philosophy, principles, and purposes so that these might be applied to bring about the flowering of morality, beauty, and power in harmony with the immortal spirit.
Through scientific practice of Taekwon-Do one can significantly improve his health and nourish his intellect. One can be in a position to aid others in the cause of justice, thereby promoting social ethics and morals, thus helping to bring about a happier and more peaceful society.
In order to come to terms with life, in spite of its detestable aspects, and with the idea of death, one ought to continue studying the art of Taekwon-Do to learn techniques of power and grace, and to enlarge his spiritual realm. This the motivations to study shall be an inheritance to limitless value succeeding generations.
Human beings come into the world with simple needs and desires. They need not become avaricious but ought to remain always humble and merciful, never compromise their principles, nor be swayed by selfish motives, to insure freedom and independence ofTaekwon-Do so that it will be passed on in its pure form.
Since all students of the art are subject to the same rules of conduct and judged according to the same criteria regardless of their stations in life, their origins, and their religious convictions, they demonstrate to the world the essential equality and brotherhood of man.
Modern society is characterized by selfish preoccupation with material excess and unnecessary dependence on machines. Moral society is characterized by self discipline, sacrifice, and devotion. Dedication to the art can promote change toward a moral society.
Those who devote themselves to their fellows and live accordingly to the dictates of their consciences are always helpful toward their juniors and show respect toward their instructors and their seniors.
A beginning constitutes a significant part of the whole endeavor. Therefore, students of Taekwon-Do should not fail to take action whenever to do so might benefit the society. If he behaves thus, he himself will benefit most.
TAEKWON-DO . . . . . . . . . . . . A way of life. What exactly is the meaning of Taekwon-Do?
It is the scientific use of the body in the method of self-defense; a body that has gained the ultimate use of its facilities through intensive physical and mental training.
It is a martial art that has no equal in either power or technique. Though it is a martial art, its discipline, technique and mental training are the mortar for building a strong sense of justice, fortitude, humility and resolve. It is this mental conditioning that separates the true practitioner from the sensationalist, content with mastering only the fighting aspects of the art.
This is one of the reasons that Taekwon-Do is called an art of self-defense. It also implies a way of thinking and life, particularly in instilling a concept and spirit of strict self-imposed discipline and an ideal of noble moral rearmament. The nearest description of it is almost a cult.
Translated literally “Tae” stands for jumping or flying, to kick or smash with the foot. “Kwon” denotes the fist-chiefly to punch or destroy with the hand or fist. “Do” means an art or way-the right way built and paved by the saints and sages in the past. Thus takencollectively “Taekwon-Do” indicates the mental training and the techniques of unarmed combat for self-defense as well as health, involving the skilled application of punches, kicks, blocks and dodges with bare hands and feet to the rapid destruction of the movingopponent or opponents.
Taekwon-Do definitely enables the weak to possess a fine weapon together with confidence to defend him or herself and defeat the opponent as well.
Of course, wrongly applied, Taekwon-Do can be a lethal weapon. Therefore mental training must always be stressed to prevent the student from misusing it.
As for women folk, they will undoubtedly find Taekwon-Do an invaluable asset in tackling and driving away “wolves”, so to speak. When one is informed of the many instances where frail women effectively protected themselves, they may sound unbelievable. But really, they have been able to do so because they are well versed in the art of self-defense.
The feats of Taekwon-Do are great in number. To mention a few is probably pertinent: for instance, flying over a mounted motorcycle or eleven persons in line to attack a target with the foot; breaking and inch thick pine board placed at a height of ten or eleven feet with the foot; breaking two pieces of red brick with a open hand or knife-hand; smashing seven or eight pieces of two inch thick pine board at a single blow with the fist; attacking two targets with the same foot in succession while flying and so on. To the layman in the street, such feats may sound impossible, but to the serious students of Taekwon-Do and the exponents of this art, it is quite ordinary. Of course, by mastering this art it does not mean that you will be asked to do acts of impossibility.
Particularly if someone should challenge you to kill a wild bull with your bare hands. Therefore it is clear that equivalent demonstrations of such effective use of pure somatic force is not to be seen in other forms of physical combat technique.
Incessant training is essential to keep oneself in top form and physical condition. In training, all the muscles of the human body will be used.
From the use of one’s muscles, it will be possible to harness all available power generated by every muscular contraction. It will then be necessary to deliver such power to the human target especially to where the most vulnerable points or vital spots of one’sopponent are located, in particular when the opponent is in motion.
At this point it is necessary to remind the students of Taekwon-Do that this art of self-defense is specially designed for swift retaliation against the moving aggressor.
Most of the devastating maneuvers in Taekwon-Do are based specially on the initial impact of a blow plus the consequential additional force provided by the rebound of the opponents moving part of the body.
Similarly by using the attacker’s force of momentum, the slightest push is all that is needed to upset his or her equilibrium and to topple him or her.
In the case of the students of Taekwon-Do who have been in constant practice or the experts themselves, they spend no time thinking, as such an action comes automatically to them. Their actions, in short, have become conditioned reflexes.
Therefore, throughout this Encyclopedia, the readers will notice that repeated emphasis is placed on regular training, in order to master the techniques of attack and defense.
Hours spent on training will not be wasted; for surely you will reap a rich reward in the form of speedy reactions and deadly blows to rain down upon your enemy or in any case to save life if and when a need arises.
Even if Taekwon-Do is practiced for the sake of exercise alone, the enjoyment derived will justify the time invested and spent. As an exercise, it is equally suitable for the old and young, male and female.
COURTESY (Ye Ui)
Taekwon-Do students should attempt to practice the following elements of courtesy to build up their noble character and to conduct the training in an orderly manner as well.
- To promote the spirit of mutual concessions.
- To be ashamed of one’s vices, comtempting those of others.
- To be polite to one another.
- To encourage the sense of justice and humanity.
- To distinguish instructor from student, senior from junior, and elder from younger.
- To behave oneself according to the etiquette.
- To respect others’ possessions.
- To handle matters with fairness and sincerity.
- To refrain from giving or accepting any gift when in doubt.
INTEGRITY (Yom Chi)
In Taekwon-Do, the word integrity assumes a looser definition than the one usually presented in Webster’s Dictionary. One must be able to define right and wrong and have the conscience, if wrong, to feel guilt. Listed are some examples, where integrity is lacking:
- The instructor who misrepresents himself and his art by presenting improper techniques to his students because of a lack of knowledge or apathy.
- The student who misrepresents himself by “fixing” breaking materials before demonstrations.
- The instructor who camouflages bad techniques with luxurious training halls and false flattery to his students.
- The student who requests rank from an instructor, or attempts to purchase it.
- The student who gains rank for ego purposes or the feeling of power.
- The instructor who teaches and promotes his art for materialistic gains.
- The student whose actions do not live up to his words.
- The student who feels ashamed to seek opinions from his juniors.
PERSEVERANCE (In Nae)
There is an old Oriental saying, “Patience leads to virtue or merit.” “One can make a peaceful home by being patient for 100 times.” Certainly, happiness and prosperity are most likely brought to the patient person to achieve something, whether it is a higher degree or the perfection of a technique, one must set his goal, then constantly perserve. Robert Bruce learned his lesson of perseverance from the persistent efforts of a lowly spider. It was this perseverance of tenacity that finally enabled him to free Scotland in the fourteenth century. One of the most important secrets in becoming a leader of Taekwon-Do is to overcome every difficulty by perseverance.
Confucius said; “one who is impatient in trivial matters can seldom achieve success in matters of great importance.”
SELF-CONTROL (Guk Gi)
This tenet is extremely important inside and outside the do-jang, whether conducting oneself in free sparring or in one’s personal affairs. A loss of self control in free sparring can prove disastrous to both student and opponent. An inability to live and work within one’s capability or sphere is also a lack of self-control.
According to Lao-Tzu “the term of stronger is the person who wins over oneself rather than some one else.”
INDOMITABLE SPIRIT (Baekjul Boolgool)
“Here lie 300, who did their duty,” a simple epitaph for one of the greatest acts of courage known to mankind.
Although facing the superior forces of Xerxes, Leonidas and his 300 Spartans at Thermoplyae showed the world the meaning of indomitable spirit. It is shown when a courageous person and his principles are pitted against overwhelming odds.
A serious student of Taekwon-Do will at all times be modest and honest. If confronted with injustice he will deal with the belligerent without any fear or hesitation at all, with indomitable spirit, regardless of whosoever and however many the number may be.
Confucius declared: “it is an act of cowardice to fail to speak out against injustice.” As history has proven, those who have pursued their dreams earnestly and strenuously with indomitable spirit have never failed to achieve their goals.
“Pursue one’s own goal”
General Choi Hong Hi
The Date Taekwon-Do was Founded:
April 11th, 1955
The Date the ITF was Founded:
March 22nd, 1966
The Literal Meaning of Taekwon-Do:
Tae = foot technique, kwon = hand technique, Do = art or way of life
General Choi’s Birth Date:
November 9th, 1918
1. I shall observe the tenets of Taekwon-Do: Courtesy, Integrity,
Perseverance, Self Control, Indomitable Spirit.
2. I shall respect my instructors and seniors.
3. I shall never misuse Taekwon-Do.
4. I shall be a champion for freedom and justice.
5. I shall build a more peaceful world.
Order of Belts:
White Belt, Yellow Stripe, Yellow Belt, Green Stripe, Green Belt, Blue Stripe, Blue Belt, Red Stripe, Red Belt, Black Stripe, Black Belt.
Meaning of Belt Colors:
Signifies Innocence, as that of beginning a student who has no previous knowledge of Taekwon-Do.
Signifies the Earth from which a plant sprouts and takes root as the Taekwon-Do foundation is being laid.
Signifies the plant’s Growth as the Taekwon-Do skill begins to develop.
Signifies the Heaven, toward which the plant matures into a towering tree as training in Taekwon-Do progresses.
Signifies Danger, cautioning the student to exercise control and warning
the opponent to stay away.
Opposite of white, therefore, signifying the maturity and proficiency in
Taekwon-Do. It also indicates the wearer’s imperviousness to darkness and fear.
Theory of Power:
Speed, Mass, Balance, Concentration, Reaction Force, Breathing Control.
Number of Patterns:
24 (one for each hour of the day) from Chon-ji to Tong-il, (Four directional punching and blocking are not official patterns, they are fundamental movement sequences), each pattern is named after a figure or event in Korean history.
If we were to define these physical actions as “Taekwon- Do”, any country might claim credit for inventing Taekwon-Do. There is, however, scant resemblance between Taekwon-Do, as it is practiced today, and the crude forms of unarmed combat developed in the past.
Modern Taekwon-Do differs greatly from other martial arts. In fact, no other martial art is so advanced with regard to the sophistication and effectiveness of its technique or the over-all physical fitness it imparts to its practitioners.
Since the theories, terminology, techniques, systems, methods, rules, practice suit, and spiritual foundation were scientifically developed, systematized, and named by the author, it is an error to think of any physical actions employing the hand and feet for self-defense as Taekwon- Do. Only those who practice the techniques based on the author’s theories, principles and philosophy are considered to be students of genuine Taekwon-Do.
When and where did Taekwon-Do begin?
A combination of circumstances made it possible for me to originate and develop Taekwon-Do. In addition to my prior knowledge of Taek Kyon, I had an opportunity to learn Karate in Japan during the unhappy thirty-six years when my native land was occupied by the Japanese. Soon after Korea was liberated in 1945, I was placed in a privileged position as a founding member of the newly formed South Korean Armed Forces.
The former provided me with a definite sense of creation, and the latter gave me the power to disseminate Taekwon-Do throughout the entire armed forces, despite furious opposition.
The emergence of Taekwon-Do as an international martial art in a relatively short period of time was due to a variety of factors. The evils of contemporary society (moral corruption, materialism, selfishness, etc.) had created a spiritual vacuum. Taekwon-Do was able to compensate for the prevailing sense of emptiness, distrust, decadence and lack of confidence.
In addition, these were violent times, when people felt the need for a means of protecting themselves, and the superiority of Taekwon-Do technique came to be widely recognized. My social stature, the advantage of being Taekwon-Do’s founder and my God-given health also contributed to the rapid growth of Taekwon-Do all over the world.
My involvement with the martial arts did much to supplement the health that God gave me. I had been born frail and weak and was encouraged to learn Taek Kyon at the age of fifteen by my teacher of calligraphy. In 1938, a few days before I was due to leave Korea to study in Japan I was involved in an unexpected incident that would have made it difficult to return home without risk of reprisals.
I resolved to become a black belt holder in Karate while I was in Japan.
The skills I required were, I felt, sufficient protection against those who might seek to do me harm. Not only was I able to return to Korea, but I subsequently initiated the national liberation movement known as the Pyongyang Student Soldier’s Incident. Like so many patriots in the long course of human history, my actions aroused the wrath of those in positions of power. I was imprisoned for a time in a Japanese army jail. In January of 1946, I was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the fledgling Republic of Korea army and posted to the 4th infantry regiment in Kwangju, Cholla Namdo Province as a company commander.
I began to teach Karate to my soldiers as a means of physical and mental training. It was then that I realized that we needed to develop our own national martial art, superior in both spirit and technique to Japanese Karate. I strongly believed that teaching it throughout the country would enable me to fulfill the pledge I had made to three of my comrades, who had shared my imprisonment by the Japanese.
“The reason that our people suffer in this way at the hands of the Japanese,” I had said, “is that our ancestors failed to rule wisely”.
“They exploited the people and, in the end, lost the country to foreign domination. If we ever regain our freedom and independence, let us not become the rulers of the people. Instead, let us dedicate ourselves to advising those who rule.”
It was with this ambition in mind that I began to develop new techniques, systematically, from March of that same year. By the end of 1954 I had nearly completed the foundation of a new martial art for Korea, and on April 11, 1955, it was given the name “Taekwon-Do”.
On the spiritual level, Taekwon-Do is derived from the traditional, ethical and moral principles of the orient and, of course, from my personal philosophy.
Even though I am only five feet tall, I pride myself on having lived-in strict accordance with my moral convictions. I have tried to fight on the side of justice without fear of any kind. I believe that this was possible for me only because of the formidable power and indomitable spirit instilled by Taekwon-Do.
The physical techniques of Taekwon-Do are based on the principles of modern science, in particular, Newtonian physics which teaches us how to generate maximum power. Military tactics of attack and defense have also been incorporated.
I wish to make it clear that although Karate and Taek Kyon were used as references in the course of my study, the fundamental theories and principles of Taekwon-Do are totally different from those of any other martial art in the world.
In March of 1959, I led the military Taekwon-Do demonstration team on a tour abroad. We visited South Vietnam and Taiwan. It was the first such visit in the history of Korea. On this occasion, I renewed my resolution to leave my personal legacy to the world, in the form of Taekwon-Do, and I formulated the following basic ideals for the Taekwon-Do practitioners:
1. By developing an upright mind and a strong body, we will acquire the self-confidence to stand on the side of justice at all times;
2. We shall unite with all men in a common brotherhood, without regard to religion, race, national or ideological boundaries.
3. We shall dedicate ourselves to building a peaceful human society in which justice, morality, trust and humanism prevail; I also resolved to dedicate myself to the worldwide propagation of Taekwon-Do, in the sincere hope that it would provide the means by which the unification of the divided halves of my fatherland would become possible.
My study of Taekwon-Do proceeded in two parts, spiritual discipline and technical perfection. Because the human spirit belongs to the realm of metaphysics, what I mean by spiritual discipline is not easy to describe. One cannot touch, see or hear the spirit of man, It is wider and deeper than anything we can perceive.
In this respect, I, myself, am only another student participating in a continuing and never-ending learning process.
I have come to define the spiritual dimensions of Taekwon-Do as fusing oneself with the ideals of Taekwon-Do and attaining and understanding the full meaning of each of the Taekwon-Do patterns. If we consider ourselves as one with Taekwon-Do, we will respect it as we respect our own bodies and Taekwon-Do will never be used in a dishonorable way.
Life and work become one
The names of the patterns are derived from the most illustrious people to have been produced by nearly five thousand years of Korean history. A proper understanding of the patterns leads, inevitably to the realization that Taekwon-Do is a martial art to be used only for self-defense and only in the cause of justice.
The history of Korea contains not a single sample of its military forces being employed for the invasion of its neighbors or for any other purpose except national defense.
In the technical area, I created a wide variety of techniques that can be used in almost any situation. They are based on the following principles:
1. All movement should be designed to produce maximum power in accordance with scientific formulas and the principle of kinetic energy;
2. The principles behind the techniques should be so clear that even those ignorant to Taekwon-Do will be able to distinguish correct from incorrect movement;
3. The distance and angle of each movement should be exactly defined in order to achieve more efficient attack and defense;
4. The purpose and method of each movement should be clear and simple, in order to facilitate the teaching and learning process;
5. Rational teaching methods should be developed so that the benefits of Taekwon-Do can be enjoyed by everyone, young and old, men and women;
6. Correct breathing methods should be devised, enhancing the speed of each movement and reducing fatigue;
7. Attack should be possible against any vital spot on the body and it should be possible to defend against all varieties of attack;
8. Each attacking tool should be clearly defined and soundly based on the structure of the human body;
9. Each movement should be easy to execute, enabling the student to enjoy Taekwon-Do as a sport and recreation;
10. Special consideration should be paid to promoting good health and preventing injuries;
11. Each movement should be harmonious and rhythmical so that Taekwon-Do is aesthetically pleasing;
12. Each movement in a pattern must express the personality and spiritual character of the person it is named after.Adherence to these basic principles is what makes Taekwon-Do a martial art, an aesthetic art, a science and sport.
NOTE: saju-dirugi and saju-maki are not true patterns, but rather a series of basic movements and techniques.
CHON-JI: Means literally “the Heaven the Earth”. It is in the Orient, interpreted as the creation of the world or the beginning of human history, therefore, it is the initial pattern played by the beginner. This pattern consists of two similar parts: one to represent Heaven and the other the Earth.
DAN-GUN: Is named after the holy Dan-Gun, the legendary founder of Korea in the year of 2.333 B.C.
DO-SAN: Is the pseudonym of the patriot Ahn Chang-Ho (1876-1938). The 24 movements represent his entire life which he devoted to furthering the education of Korea and its independence movement.
WON-HYO: Was the noted monk who introduced Buddhism to Silla Dynasty in the year of 686 A.D.
YUL-GOK: Is the pseudonym of a great philosopher and scholar Yi l (1536-1584) nicknamed the “Confucius of Korea”. The 38 movements of this pattern refer to his birthplace on the 38° latitude and the diagram (~) represents “scholar”.
JOONG-GUN: Is named after the patriot Ahn Joong- Gun who assassinated Hiro- Burmi Ito, the first Japanese governor-general of Korea, known as the man who played the leading part in the Korea- Japan merger. There are 32 movements in this pattern to represent Mr. Ahn’s age when he was executed at Lui-Shung prison (1910).
TOI-GYE: Is the pen name of the noted scholar Yi Hwang (16th century), an authority on neo- Confucianism. The 37 movements of the pattern refer to his birthplace on the 37° latitude, the diagram (~) represents “scholar”.
HWA-RANG: Is named after the Hwa-Rang youth group which originated in the Silla Dynasty in the early 7th century. The 29 movements refer to the 29th Infantry Division, where Taekwon-Do developed into maturity.
CHOOHG-MOO: Was the name given to the great Admiral Yi Soon- Sin of the Lee Dynasty. He was reputed to have invented the first armored battleship (Kobukson) in 1592, which is said to be the precursor of the present day submarine. The reason why this pattern ends with a left hand attack is to symbolize his regrettable death, having no chance to show his unrestrained potentiality checked by the forced reservation of his loyalty to the king.
KWANG-GAE: Is named after the famous Kwang-Toh-Wang, the 19th King of Koguryo Dynasty, who regained all the lost territories including the greater part of Manchuira. The diagram represents the expansion and recovery of the lost territory. The 39 movements refer to the first two figures of 391 A.D., the year he came to the throne.
PO-EUN: Is the pseudonym of a loyal subject Chong Mong-Chu (1400) who was a famous poet and whose poem “I would not serve a second master though I might be crucified a hundred times.” is known to every Korean. He was also a pioneer in the field of physics. The diagram represents his unerring loyalty to the king and country towards the end Koryo Dynasty.
GE-BAEK: Is named after Ge-Baek, a great general in the Baek Je Dynasty (660A.D.). The diagram represents his severe and strict military discipline.
EUI-AM: Is the pseudonym of Son Byong Hi, leader of the Korean independence movement of March 1, 1919. The 45 movements refer to his age when he changed the name of Dong Hak (Oriental Culture) to Chondo Kyo (Heavenly Way Religion) in 1905. The diagram (I) represents his indomitable spirit, displayed while dedicating himself to the prosperity of his nation.
CHOONG-JANG: Is the pseudonym given to General Kim Duk Ryang who lived during the Lee Dynasty, 14th century. This pattern ends with a left- hand attack to symbolize the tragedy of his death at 27 in prison before he was able to reach full maturity.
JUCHE: Is a philosophical idea that man is the master of everything and decides everything, in other words, the idea that man is the master of the world and his own destiny. It is said that this idea was rooted in Baekdu Mountain which symbolizes the spirit of the Korean people. The diagram (&) represents Baekdu Mountain.
SAM-IL: Denotes the historical date of the independence movement of Korea which began throughout the country on March 1, 1919. The 33 movements in the pattern stand for the 33 patriots who planned the movement.
YOO-SIN: Is named after General Kim Yoo Sin, a commanding general during the Silla Dynasty. The 68 movements refer to the last two figures of 668 A. D., the year Korea was united. The ready posture signifies a sword drawn on the right rather than left side, symbolizing Yoo Sin’s mistake of following his king’s orders to fight with foreign forces against his own nation.
CHOI -YONG: Is named after General Choi Yong, Premier and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed forces during the 14th century Koryo Dynasty. Choi Yong was greatly respected for his loyalty, patriotism, and humility. He was executed by his subordinate commanders headed by General Yi Sung Gae, who later become the first king of the Lee Dynasty.
YON-GAE: Is named after a famous general during the Koguryo Dynasty, Yon Gae Somoon. The 49 movements refer to the last two figures of 649 A. D., the Year he forced the Tang Dynasty to quit Korea after destroying nearly 300,000 of their troops at Ansi Sung.
UL-JI: Is named after general Ul-Ji Moon Dok who successfully defended Korea against a Tang’s invasion force of nearly one million soldiers led by Yang Je in 612 A.D., Ul-Ji employing hit and run guerilla tactics, was able to decimate a large percentage of the force. The diagram ( L) represents his surname. The 42 movements represents the author’s age when he designed the pattern
MOON-MOO: Honours the 30th king of the Silla Dynasty. His body was buried near Dae Wang Am (Great King’s Rock). According to his will, the body was placed in the sea “Where my soul shall forever defend my land against the Japanese.” It is said that the Sok G ul Am (Stone Cave) was built to guard his tomb. The Sok Gul Am is a fine example of the culture of the Silla Dynasty. The 61 movements in this pattern symbolize the last two figures of 661 A.D. when Moon Moo came to the throne.
SO-SAN: Is the pseudonym of the great monk Choi Hyong Ung (1520-1604) during the Lee Dynasty. The 72 movements refer to his age when he organized a corps of monk soldiers with the assistance of his pupil Sa Myung Dang. The monk soldiers helped repulse the Japanese pirates who overran most of the Korean peninsula in 1592.
SE-JONG: Is named after the greatest Korean king, Se-Jong, who invented the Korean alphabet in 1443, and was also a noted meteorologist. The diagram (Z) represents the king, while the 24 movements refer to the 24 letters of the Korean alphabet.
TONG-IL: Denotes the resolution of the unification of Korea which has been divided since1945. The diagram (I) symbolizes the homogenous race
The broad connotations and various possible interpretations of the moral culture are often very difficult for the western mind to grasp because this is an aspect of Oriental Philosophy which pervades the lives of Oriental people. In a word, it is the endeavor and process of becoming an exemplary person such as Confucius (552-479 AD).
To become such a person, one has to first find himself and acquire a moral character which is respected by all. This can only be achieved through constant practice of mental discipline. Thus, if the times call for it, the mentally disciplined man can contribute to the building of an ideal society through wise counsel to the government and, even after death, through his everlasting examples.
Confucius said, “to promote the sense of morality one must treat others with faithfulness and sincerity based on righteousness, and to eliminate completely vicious thinking”.
i Everyone of us, as a social being, desires to live in a free and peaceful society. At the same time, it is our obligation to build such a society for the people.I have quoted various words of wisdom of ancient saints and philosophers for creating an ideal society in the hope that students of Taekwon-Do use them as a guide to cultivating their moral culture.
An ideal society, according to LAO-TZU, is one in which the ruler is of such high moral character that he can rule naturally, not by interference or fear but by appealing to the good nature of his people, who by merely doing their duty can live freely in peace without fear and anxiety.Next, a moral society is one in which the people admire and praise their ruler in gratitude for his love and the benign disposition he bears toward his people.
|Thirdly there is a “legalistic society in which the ruler because he lacks the moral authority resorts to various laws to govern his people, who in turn obey because they fear the retribution that the violation of these laws will bring. Under these circumstances, the ruler loses touch with his people.
Finally the worst kind of society is that in which the ruler, through deception and trickery, misuses his legal authority to further his personal ambitions and imposes his rule upon his people by force as he deems necessary. In such a society, the ruler is despised and hated by his people and eventually invites not only his own downfall but with him the downfall of the people and the country.
In Taekwon-Do a heavy emphasis is placed on moral culture, for it not only promotes a healthy body and keen mind but good sportsmanship and the perfection of moral behavior. As ancient Greeks first espoused in their sound
No doubt the following lessons may be somewhat hard to fully understand; however, it would behoove the serious student of Taekwon-Do to read, digest, and attempt to grasp these very fundamental essences of moral culture.
A. Return to the basic nature – Mencius gave the following analogy when he reasoned that a man is basically good. Even a ruthless robber, coming upon an innocent child about to fall into a well, will try to save the child, forgetting for moment, his intention to rob the house. This good nature becomes obscured or completely lost by greed for money and power.
B. Be virtuous – It is difficult to define what virtue is. However, these are five human qualities which have been recognized as virtues since ancient times; humanity, righteousness, courtesy, wisdom, and trust. To be virtuous one must constantly cultivate and practice these virtues.
“Virtue is like the North Star. All the stars revolve around it in an orderly fashion.”
Therefore, people who surround the virtuous person, naturally will act for the betterment of society.
1. HUMANITY (IN)
The ability to feel sorrow for the misfortunes of fellow men and love them all equally as parents love their children equally.
Confucius defined humanity in the following ways:
A To love people, especially one’s parents
B Not asking others to do what you would rather not do
C To behave with the nature of propriety by controlling on oneself
D To have unbending desire to accomplish what is right regardless of how insignificant, the result may initially seem when compared to the amount of effort put forth
E To value others’ honour before your own
F To put others’ freedom, before your own
To implement humanity he said one should:
1. Practice utmost prudence, modesty and discretion in everyday life.
2. Devote oneself to assigned work be it large or small.
3. Demonstrate sincerity with whole heartedness to others at all times.
Tae Kong Mang (12th century BC) said;
“The heaven provides us four seasons while the earth has the power to produce all living things. This privilege is not reserved for any specific person but for all human beings… Therefore, humanity lies in the idea of sharing the fruits of nature with all people.”
|2. RIGHTEOUSNESS (UI)
The ability to feel ashamed of unjust acts and to do one’s duty to others. Mencius said; “for the ordinary person life and death are the most important in the life. However, for virtuous person to and live and die for righteousness is far more important than life and death themselves.”
3. PROPRIETY (YE)
Confucius said, “propriety must be practiced for the proper development of personality, and whoever lacks sincerity in his words, cannot be considered a gentleman.”
4. WISDOM (JI)
The ability to judge right from wrong, not especially in matters concerning the right and wrong of others but in matters concerning oneself. A wise man (Yu Bee) once said to his sons, “no matter how small it is you should not do what you realize is wrong. On the other hand you must do what is right no matter how small it may seem.”
5. TRUST (SHIN)
The ability to keep one’s words and promises, not only to one’s friends but to everyone in general. Without trust a person loses all principles and dignities and becomes a liar and a cheater.
ii How, then, can man discover his own human nature?
There are two ways by which a person can find himself; first, by preserving the goodness given to him by God or heaven at birth, and secondly by renouncing greed for material things.
A. Man may occupy two positions in a life time
Basically there are two kinds of position; one is the live virtues given by heaven, explained earlier, and the other given by man, such as a cabinet minister, bureau chief, and so on.Unfortunately man often relies too much on worldly position which is transient at best, for what man gives can also be taken away. On the other hand, what heaven endows us with is eternal. This is not to say that we reject all worldly things but rather that we keep both positions in proper balance so that the virtues of the former position provides guidance for the proper use of the latter.
In this manner a man will gain respect and set good examples for others to follow. Without proper guidance, a person can easily fall victim, to the temptations of personal power and wealth, employing unethical means to further his ambitions. Ultimately such a person will become a tyrant, or a dictator and an enemy of the people.According to Confucius, a generous and loving man cannot have enemies. Therefore, humanity, the first virtue, is like a strong secure fortress.
Generous person has no enemy
B. Greed is Insatiable
He who is content with what he has is the richest man in the world. On the other hand, if one has everything and still more, he may yet be poor. A man who is blinded by greed is not only given to corruption, intrigue and exploitation of others, but worst of all, he casts himself in the position of “friend fighting against friend, father fighting against son,” finally becoming no better than an animal.There is certain truth in the old saying that a truly good person cannot be rich, and a rich person cannot be a truly good person.
According to an ancient adage, “constant material dissatisfaction is considered to be the root of all misfortunes.” There is no better way to self satisfaction and human growth than the constant development of a generous nature.
|C. Be humble
A weed holds up its head in arrogance while a mature grain bows its head in humility. Lao-Tzu taught that lofty virtue is like a deep valley into which all streams of water flow. A virtuous man will draw the respect of others toward him in the same fashion while one who is selfish and egotistic will loose the respect of his fellow man and become despised and isolated.
No one is wise from the moment of birth. As human beings we have many faults and are prone to make mistakes. However, once having acquired knowledge we learn to correct these shortcomings.
It would not be impossible to eventually become perfect human beings. For this purpose, it is essential not to be idyllic towards learning and continue to be willing to criticize oneself.
It is said that Confucius and his pupils practiced self-criticism by repeating the following three times daily:
1) Have I neglected others’ requests because of selfishness
2) Have I behaved with a sincere attitude towards friends
3) Have I inspired others with certainty, while being uncertain myself
4) Have I neglected to practice virtue
5) Have I erred in my studies
6) Have I avoided acting with righteousness
7) Have I corrected myself immediately upon realizing my fault
E. Be soft
Because light is formless and soft, it can illuminate and give warmth to even hidden corners. As water can assume any shape or form, it can better serve the living things that need to survive. Once water becomes a part of the ocean, even the largest ship is like a mere leaf, and its awesome fury when aroused can conquer the tallest mountain.If one claims to be strong, he will soon meet someone who is stronger. A tree, such as a sapling, can withstand a strong wind when it is soft and flexible but may be toppled or broken after it becomes old and brittle. The same principle also applies to human beings.
F. Respect of elders
As son respects parents, younger brother respects older brother, man must always respect his elders or seniors. This is the beauty of mankind, and one of the distinctions between human and animal.Mencius said there are three things of value in human society: position,
honor and moral integrity. In government, position is considered important, in a community, honor, and for a leader or advisor, moral integrity. Indeed, there can be no children without parents, nor a young generation without the old generation. A society and a nation could not avoid chaos without its culture and social order being based on respect for the knowledge and wisdom of ts elders.
G. Respect the rights of others
To criticize someone who is better, to covet other’s possessions and to steal the merits of others are the marks of an unscrupulous man. Mother Nature does make claims to her domain, yet all creatures within it acknowledge her eternal accomplishments. To help others develop and succeed in life is a reward in itself and has a true value only if nothing is expected in return. Throughout human history, people who in jealousy have stolen the recognition due to others and have stolen their possessions out of avarice have always left dark imprints of shame and dishonor.
H. Be just
To be correct and forthright is to live one’s life correctly. Old sages used to say; “To common men, life is most valuable, and death, most fearful” However, a righteous man would value justice above life itself and would be willing to die rather than submit to injustice. Such notable figures as Baek-E-Sook-Je of China, Sung-Sam-Moon of Korea and Yoshida-Shoing of Japan all chose death in defiance of injustice leaving to their posterity lasting examples.
Baek-E-Sook-Je lived in Chou period about 2,000 BC. When King Moo toppled the twenty-seventh King, who was a very notorious tyrant, he refused to serve the new King, who usurped the throne by force and not by legitimate process; he eventually starved to death in a self -imposed exile in the Sooyang mountains.
Sung-Sam-Moon was an important minister of the King Se Jong, inventor of Han-Gul (Korean alphabet) in the 14th century. After the king died and the young Dan Jong became king his uncle Se-Jo conspired against the boy king and took over the throne. Minister Sung was later executed because of his persistent protest over the unlawful act of King Se-Jo. Yoshida-Shoing, one of the loyalists was also executed in protest when the Doku-Kawa military government, at the time, tried to abolish the Mei-Ji monarchy.
I. Be frugal
Since ancient times, excessive luxury and pleasure caused the downfall of many kings and nations without exception and history is full of such examples Persons in leadership in particular must learn to be frugal and live moderately. As the old adage goes “if the water is muddy upstream so it will be downstream.”
An extravagant leader will affect his subordinates in this same way and will bring more hardship to his subjects through increased taxation and bribery.During the Lee Dynasty of Korea, the king’s roving inspector, Lee-Mong-Yong, while traveling the countryside incognito, was invited to one of the lavish dinner parties of a notorious governor. In the middle of the feast he recited his famous poem:
The sweet wine you drink from the glittering cups Flows from the tears of people who toil The tender meat which fills the dishes of jades is torn from their aching flesh Merrier you laugh, sadder they will weep Louder you sing, more plaintive their lament.
The governor and his cohorts recognizing the true identity of the poet, became frightened and fled from the scene. Remember that there are tears and heartaches of many behind one man’s pleasure.
J. Be discreet
In every thing he does, a person must not be impulsive or reckless but be patient and thoughtful. “He who acts without thinking at least three times,will later regret his action,” warns an old proverb.Accordingly, on a matter of an important appointment or punishment, one must not decide hastily but must deliberate to reach a decision that is both fair and objective.
|K. Know true happiness
Lao-Tzu pointed out that nature was based upon harmony contrasts. For example, the universe was made up of two forces, Yin (female) and Yang (male). Other contrasts were hard and soft, long and short, night and day, solid and empty, cold and warm, big small, beautiful and ugly. All things in this world are relative to one another. Misery can only come from having been happy once and sorrow from joy. The wealthy and the powerful are not necessarily happy. For every rich person, there are countless poor and for each tyrant, a nation of oppressed. Mencius defined life’s three happinesses as follows:
1. Healthy parents and harmony within the family.
2. To live with pride and honor through correct behavior.
3. To educate the young to become upright and useful members of society.
L. Let your actions speak for yourself Even the ablest orator is apt to err if given to verbiage. A closed mouth can save fish from the hook as well as stay secrets from the enemy. To speak only what is meaningful is a sign of a cultivated person. People talk mostly to brag about themselves or to gain advantage over others.
A man of virtue expresses himself more through deeds than words. Thus, he influences others through living examples. In the old days, the truly effective way to teach was believed to be by the actions not by the words of the teacher.
Educate the young
to produce heroic
|Movement in tranquilit||M. Develop peace of mind
A clear pond becomes muddy if agitated and then returns to its original state when allowed to settle undisturbed.It is said that calm will be able to conquer the heat. Undoubtedly you can endure the hottest summer heat if you sit calm and composed. Conversely, if you move too much in order to warm your freezing body you may get temporary relief, but it does not last too long.We can attain peace of mind through medi-tation, by emptying our minds of all petty thoughts and returning to the natural state of man. Unlike in Buddhism or Zen, meditation in Taekwon-Do does not mean a total divorce from the world, like a dead body, but rather an active moment to reflect on our past mistakes in silence and in the privacy of our thoughts, and through penitence, to continue our self-improvement toward becoming better men and women.
This active thought process in silence is called “Jung-Joong-Dong.”N. Be firm of mindA person of strong conviction is unsuspi-cious and unafraid. When proved wrong, he has the moral strength to admit his mistakes to even the most humble and has the courage to stand up to the mighty if he believes himself or herself to be right.Strong conviction can be gained through the broad and deep “Ki”-spirit. Ki is a form of active energy which fills every physical cell and organ while “Chi”-will is the motivating force: the former moves the latter leads. If “Ki” is nurtured with great care and allowed to grow based on humanity and justice, its soaring power and outreaching strength can fill the heaven and earth, enabling man to reach a new height of great achievements, so Mencius exhorted his disciples.On a more practical level “Ki” helps us to keep our minds clear and alert when the affairs of life become strained and confused, or sees us through sleepless nights when our loved one is gravely ill.
|O. Be devoted
As meditation is to the religious, concent-ration and devotion is to the artist, and persever-ance is to the laborer, so is moral culture to the practitioner of the martial arts. In otherwords a person’s unflinching dedication to his own inter-est and duty is the source of life and power. Cultivation of mind, therefore, is no monopoly of any particular person.In fact the sincerity and effort definitely produce the belief and the belief makes one able to reach the final goal.Moral culture is considered to be a cultivating movement to make one devote oneself to his work, whatever it might be, until his life and work become one.iiiIn summary, we can enjoy a greater freedom of action by preserving our basic nature while making ourselves impervious to the temptation of power, money and sex. A person who has attained this stage of self-cultivation is sometimes called a “Saint.” It must indeed seem like an impossible undertaking to a mere mortal. A mountain crossing begins with a single bold step and an ocean begins with each small stream.As ancient proverbs say; “Where there is a will there is a way.” “One should not look afar, when the way is right in front of you.” “Even heaven can be moved if one devotes himself to his cause.” With a strong will and firm determination, it is within the reach of anyone who is willing to make the effort.
Broad and deep Ki (Spirit)
Way is right in front of you
Absolute sincerity moves the heavens
|This moral culture is uniquely tied in with Taekwon-Do, not only for the eventual attain-ment of the highest goals in Taekwon-Do and the promotion of power, technique, and self-confidence, but also for the cultivation of charac-ter. Without this, the instructor would be guilty of imparting a devastating force to those who could eventually become so enamored of their newly found techniques they might very easily become bullies or use this knowledge as a means to achieve their personal ambitions.
Most Taekwon-Do masters and instructors are more apt to put emphasis on this aspect of training rather than some of the more sensational training guides of running over rocky seashores, beating the fists against pebbles or thrusting them into boiling water, attempting to stop a bird in mid-flight, and so forth.
There are also a number of obligations the serious student must fulfill, and the following steps have been taken by each Taekwon-Do school under the International Taekwon-Do Federation to maintain the high standards of instructors and students.
1. A close scrutiny must be made of the mental makeup and background of applicants before their admission to the do jang or school.
During training the student should constantly develop mental and physical discipline, and the following activities should be considered an integral part of training.
Whole life is devoted
TRAVEL (YO HAENG):
Patriotism can be gained by travelling to noted or historical areas. An American student once remarked after visiting Gettysburg and the site of General Pickett’s famous charge: “The fighting spirit and courage they possessed to attempt to conquer and unconquerable position must have come from a loyalty all officers would like to achieve.” Students should seek out there monuments, study and attempt to learn from them.
MOUNTAIN CLIMBING (DUNG SAN):
This form of exercise not only develops important leg muscles, but also nourishes the spirit and promotes a feeling of victory and triumph, as illustrated in the well known Korean poem; “No matter how high the mountain is, it can be compared to a small tomb under the heaven. There is no reason why man cannot succeed if he desires to climb it. All too often, however, one claims it is too high to climb without even making an attempt.
COLD SHOWERS AND BATHS (NAENGSOO MACHAL):
By taking coldshowers and baths or exercising on snow-covered ground in bare feet, students build tenacity and pride.
PUBLIC SERVICE (SAHWE BONGSA):
By contributing labor to the community, especially to the poor or disabled, the student learns charity, humility, comradeship, tolerance, and the sense of etiquette.
ETIQUETTE (YE JOL):
A high degree of etiquette should be observed by students, both inside and outside do jang. This should be applied by lower ranking students to senior students while training, by higher ranking students to elder students outside of the training hall ( do jang ), and by all students when visiting another do jang. In all cases, emphasis should be placed on correct and proper salutation. It is a form of respect and courtesy in Western as well as Oriental societies.
It is indeed poor taste for a black belt to slight a beginning white belt who might very well be the instructor’s senior in both age and station. Students visiting other do jangs, whether they be Taekwon-Do or other martial arts, must pay proper respect and observe the traits of modesty and courtesy at all times.
|Man should attempt to dwell in the largest mansion in the world, stand on the correct place and walk on the broadest street.
(Man’s most comfortable and secure dwelling is his own virtuous mind. He should always stand on the side of justice and live honestly and fairly).
On the other hand, the mural paintings in the tombs along the Nile and the hieroglyphic inscriptions engraved in the pyramids proved that the Egyptians had a form of open hand fighting similar to boxing as early as 3,000 BC.
We also have reports of open hand fighting techniques practiced by the warriors of Mesopotamia and Sumer (3,000 BC-2,300 BC). Then, we can easily imagine that primitive human beings had to depend on their hands and feet to overcome enemies, animals, and the obstacles to survival found in nature.
As human knowledge and wisdom progressed, these crude fighting methods were gradually and continuously improved. Eventually, they were systemized as martial arts.
By the time of the Greek city-states (700 BC), boxing, wrestling and other related forms of combat were regular events in the Olympiads. The works of Homer (800-900 BC) contains descriptions of unarmed combat, and the Greek philosopher Plato (347-427 BC) mentions skiamachia (fighting without an opponent)- a kind of shadowboxing, which was eventually combined with wrestling and boxing to form pancratium. This was a fighting system in which the whole body was used as a weapon.
The Greek practitioners of pancratium were later transformed into Roman gladiators. The gladiatorial games were ferocious sports performed for the entertainment of spectators during the golden age of the Roman Empire. These games were introduced into Germany, Normandy and England after the fall of Rome subsequently because the basis of modern boxing and wrestling.
It is recorded that some types of open hand fighting were widely practiced in China at an early date. The art of Palgwae flourished during the era of Ju Gong (approximately 200 BC) and came to be perfected during the Song Dynasty a thousand years later.
Throughout the world numerous styles of hand and foot fighting have been developed, each of which reflects the needs of the time and the varying historical and cultural background of the country where it originated.
In China open hand fighting is called Kung Fu or Daeji-Chon; in India Selambam; in France Savate; in Japan, Judo, Karate or Ai Kido or Jujitsu; in Russia Samba; In Malaysia Bosilat; in Thailand Kick Boxing; and in Korea it is known as Tae Kyon, Soo-Bak-Gi, and Taekwon-Do.
Some of these forms of self-defense are no doubt as old as mankind itself. It would be virtually impossible to trace hand and foot fighting to any single beginning.
There are certainly many legends regarding the origins of such weaponless fighting and all too often have some let legend be accepted as truth. There are some authorities who believe that the main impetus of bare hand fighting emerged in China during the sixth century by a renowned Buddhist monk named Bodiharma (Tamo in Chinese; Daruma in Japanese) the third son of the Indian King Brahman who was known as the 28th Indian patriarch of Buddhist Zen.
The essence of Zen or doctrine of Tranquillity is to shun material desire, power, greed, vanity and so on through an inward enlightenment.
Daruma (448-529 AD) supposedly journeyed from a southern Indian monastery to China via the Himalayas to instruct the Liang Dynasty monarch in the tenets of Buddhism. It is claimed that upon his arrival in China, he went to a monastery called Shaoling Temple located in Shao Shik mountain in 520 AD.
There he undertook the task of teaching Buddhism to the Chinese monks. They reportedly became physically exhausted from the severe discipline and intense pace that was set by Daruma. To train themselves to accept the harshness of the discipline, Daruma introduced them to a method of mental and physical conditioning outlined in the books I-Jin Kyong (muscle development) and Si Shim Kyong (mind cleaning). These were intended to free them from all conscious control and thus permit them to attain enlightenment. At the same time, supplementing their daily exercise was Shih Pa Lo-Han (18 movements of Lo-han hands) which imitated the posture of the 18 different temple idols.
As a result they supposedly became the most formidable fighters in China. It is said this method was eventually combined with Shih Pa Lo-han to form the famous Shaoling boxing or Ch’yan Fa (method of Shaoling Fist).
There is little historical data to substantiate this story. Careful scrutiny of the evidence reveals that Daruma arrived in China during the Liang Dynasty of sixth century. He initially attempted to teach Buddhism to King Moo Je at Kwang Joo but was refused admission to the palace grounds. The missionary then went to small country in the north of China called Ui where he was invited to teach King Myong Je. For reasons that are unknown, Daruma refused the offer and retired to the Shaoling Temple where he remained in meditation and devotion until his death nine years later.
During the period between 1st century BC and 7th century AD, the Korean peninsula was divided into three Kingdoms; Silla, Koguryo and Baek Je. Silla, the smallest of these kingdoms was constantly under invasion and harassment by its two more powerful northern and western neighbors. During the reign of Chin Heung, Twenty-fourth King of Silla, the young aristocrats and warrior class formed an elite officers corps called Hwa Rangdo.
This warrior corps-in addition to the ordinary training in spear, bow, sword and hook-also trained themselves by practicing mental and physical discipline, and various forms of hand and foot fighting. To harden their bodies, they climbed rugged mountains, swarm the turbulent rivers in the coldest months, and drove themselves unmercifully to prepare for the task of defending their homeland.
To guide themselves and give purpose to their knighthood, they incorporated a five-point code of conduct set forth by their country’s greatest Buddhist monk and scholar Won Kang.
|1. Be loyal to your king.
2. Be obedient to your parents.
3. Be honorable to your friends.
4. Never retreat in battle.
5. Make a just kill.
The Hwa Rangdo became known in the peninsula for their courage and skill in battle, gaining respect from even their bitterest foes. The strength they derived from their respect to their code enabled them to attain feats of valor that became legendary. Many of these brave young warriors died on fields of battle in the threshold of their youth-as young as fourteen or fifteen years of age.
|The statue of Kumkang-Yuksa, a famous warrior in Sukulam, a stone cave built in the age of the Silla Dynasty.
Notice the similarities in form between the Kumkang-Yuksa and present day Taekwon-Do.
The appearance of clenched fist, a strong knife-hand, and muscled legs which may have been result of heavy training.
There is much historical evidence to document the existence of a form of hand and foot fighting during this period in both Silla and Koguryo. Some of the postures resemble Taek Kyon or Japanese Jujitsu techniques.
It appears that the warriors of Hwa Rangdo added a new dimension to this primitive method of foot fighting by gearing it to combat and infusing the principles of the Hwa Rangdo. The new mental concept as well as the physical, elevated foot fighting to an art.
During the period of Hwa Rangdo, the original primitive method of hand fighting called Soo Bak-Gi was popular among the common people in Koguryo Dynasty. The people had a high regard for Soo Bak-Gi. During the Dan-O festivals (on the 5th of May of the lunar calendar) competitions of Soo Bak-Gi were held along with games of Korean wrestling, tug of war, hopping contests and Jeki-Chagi.
The mural painting at Kak-Je Tomb, painted in the age of San-Sang, the tenth king of Koguryo, shows sparring of Soo Bak-Gi. Once again, notice the similaties of these postures and Taekwon-Do flying combatants.
The famous Korean historian, Dr. Danjee Shin Chae Ho, in his writings of ancient Chosun, describes the contests of skill and courage under grueling conditions; “dancing with swords and certain water sports were held on the frozen river to test a contestant’s courage and perseverance. Archery and Taek Kyon contests were held to test skill and power.
The winner of the hunt was given the title of Son-Bi. All of the above were judged to be necessary prerequisites of the warriors, and the winners were held in esteem by all.” Dr. Danjee states further, that the art of Soo Bak-Gi was eventually introduced to China as Kwon Bup and as a form of Jujitsu to Japan.
While pursuing historical documents relating to the martial arts in Korea, it was interesting to discover that the third king of the Yi Dynasty (1401-1408) actively recruited experts in Taek Kyon, Sirum (Korean Wrestling), stone throwing, archery, and Soo Bak-Gi to help in organizing a strong army.
Much historical documentation seems to indicate that some of these forms of open hand fighting my have been eventually exported to Japan and formed the basis for Japanese Jujitsu and Karate.
The Korean Hwa Rangdo may have been the forerunners of the famed Japanese samurai. In his book “This is Karate,” Matutatsu Oyama, a well known authority of Karate in Japan, mentions that the etymology of Kara may have been derived from the country of Kaya at the southern tip of the Korean peninsula.
The mural painting at Kangso Tomb, 7th century, shows the advanced skill in art and the mysterious usage of everlasting colors, the technique of which remains
THE PHILOSOPHY OF TAEKWON-DO
(Taekwon-Do Chul hak)
In recent years, there has been an upsurge in violence and a loss of morality in all levels of society, especially among the young. There are, of course a number of reasons for this.
Many psychologists today feel that this problem stems from frustration. Analysts, on the other hand, point out that these misguided people are indeed a disillusioned segment of society searching for values and relevance in what they consider deceitful, materialistic, and absurd world of wars and decadence.
Unfortunately, however, instead of constructively channeling their extraordinary energy and potential, far too many strike out in blind anger, destroying rather than building, or merely running away from it all by isolating themselves with drugs and their own worlds of fantasy.
Presently, the tendency of “the stronger preying upon the weaker” appears to be at its peak. Frankly, the present world closely resembles a “corrupt age.”
It is obvious that this phenomenon of society is not merely because of the struggle for survival, but mainly because of an overdeveloped material and scientific civilization. The former misleads the young to the extreme materialism or egoism, while the latter seized human beings with fear, though playing an essential role in public welfare.
Then what would be the remedy? Needless to say it is the development of moral civilization-the proper mental states of human being as the lord of creation, enough to prevail or at least keep abreast with the development of material and scientific civilization.
The utmost purpose of Taekwon-Do is to eliminate fighting by discouraging the stronger’s oppression of the weaker with a power that must be based on humanity, justice, morality, wisdom and faith, thus helping to build a better and more peaceful world.
All men, regardless of age, have felt that death is a shame and lamented that they cannot live as long as the pine trees or the turtles that seem to live a thousand years. Righteous men, on the other hand, deplore the fact that justice does not always triumph over the tyranny of power. However, there are two ways to deal with these problems: The former, through mental discipline, the latter, through physical training.
It is my firm belief that through Taekwon-Do, anyone can garner enough strength to become a guardian of justice, to challenge social disunity and, to cultivate the human spirit to the highest level attainable. It is in this spirit, I am dedicating the art of Taekwon-Do to the people of the world.
The philosophy of Taekwon-Do is based on the ethical, moral, and spiritual standards by which men can live together in harmony, and its art patterns are inspired by the ideals and exploits of great men from Korean history. Korea’s famous military and civil leaders who in nearly five thousand years of Korean history have never invaded their neighbor yet who fought bravely and made great self-sacrifices to defend their homeland against invading enemies. I also include the names of patriots who willingly gave up their lives to regain Korea’s freedom and independence from the Japanese occupation.
Each Tul (pattern) of Taekwon-Do expresses the thoughts and the actions of these great men, so the students of Taekwon-Do must reflect the true intentions of those whose name each Tul bears.
Therefore, under no circumstances should Taekwon-Do be used for any commercial or political purpose whatsoever.
I have set forth the following philosophy and guidelines which will be the cornerstone of Taekwon-Do and by which all serious students of this art are encouraged to live.
1. Be willing to go where the going may be tough and do the things that are worth doing even though they are difficult.
2. Be gentle to the weak and tough to the strong.
3. Be content with what you have in money and position but never in skills.
4. Always finish what you begin, be it large or small.
5. Be a willing teacher to anyone regardless of religion, race or ideology.
6. Never yield to repression or threat in the pursuit of a noble cause.
7. Teach attitude and skill with action rather than words.
8. Always be yourself even though your circumstances may change.
9. Be the eternal teacher who teaches with the body when young, with words when old, and by moral precept even after death.
General Choi personally explaining the philosophy of Taekwon-Do
to United States Senators and Congressmen
|Black Belt Holder
|We assign names to people and objects in order to distinguish between different individuals, between objects with different properties etc. We know immediately that “Kim Sun Dal” is not the same person as “Timothy Smith”, that “flora” is distinct from “fauna”, that “rock” and a “pillow” do not have identical characteristics.
The naming of names is a classification process by which we impose order on the universe. In the absence of names, the world would be chaotic and progress would be impossible. Our do boks serve a similar purpose. They reveal our occupation and our rank, identifying us as persons engaged in a certain kind of activity. Social order would be difficult to maintain without systemized forms of clothing.
Because of names, football can be clearly distinguished from baseball, Taekwon-Do from Judo. Similarly, their respective uniforms allow us to distinguish a judge from a criminal, a general from a private soldier.
When we wear a uniform, we accept a certain role in society and we are obliged to behave accordingly.
Our martial art was given the name “Taekwon-Do” to distinguish its technique, philosophical system, spiritual foundation and rules of competition from other Oriental martial arts. We have a uniform unique to Taekwon-Do for the same reason.
|The International Taekwon-Do Federation introduced this do bok in 1982.
It is the product of many years of research and development. This new do bok retains the aspects of the traditional do bok while representing a new age in terms of design.
It eliminates many of the inconveniences associated with other martial arts uniforms. It will not, for instance, become undone during practice or tournament.
It has also put an end to the dishonest practice of relying on starched material to create an artificial sound. The do bok is considered a primary necessity in both training and tournament for the following reasons:
1) The wearing of the do bok should instill pride in the student as a practitioner of Taekwon-Do.
2) It identifies the degree of skill and
cultural education in Taekwon-Do that the individual has attained.
3) The style of the do bok is symbolic of Taekwon-Do heritage and tradition.
4) Grade and degree changes indicated by belt color create incentive while simultaneously preserving humility.
5) The do bok is extremely practical and healthy.
6) The official do bok distinguishes orthodox Taekwon-Do from its imitators.
The do bok consists of a shirt, pants and belt made of synthetic material, detron mixed with cotton. This material is a vast improvement over standard cotton in that it is more durable and flexible.
The shirt and pants must be white in color to symbolize the traditional color of the Korean costume. Superfluous frills, piping, lettering and designs are not permissible.
It is very important for the student to keep his do bok clean at all times, wear it correctly and treat it with the respect he owes to his art. Black piping around the edge of the shirt is worn only by the black belt holder.
The piping is three centimeters in width and is symbolic of the royal family and members of aristocratic houses during the Koguryo, Baekje, and Silla Dynasties.
An international instructor is distinguished by black stripes three centimeters wide on both sides of the shirt and pants.
A tapered shirt is both more practical and aesthetically pleasing that a tight or loose one. The sleeves should be long enough to reach the wrist. The length of the shirt should be to the top of the thigh.It is permissible to wear a T-shirt under the do bok if the student desires to do so.
Front View Back View
The logo symbolizes an evergreen tree
The length of the pants should be to the top of the ankle bone.
Front View Back View
There are six orders of belts; white, yellow, green, blue, red and black.
The width of the belt is five centimeters, the thickness five millimeters. The width of the stripe on the end of the belt is also five millimeters. The distance between the stripe and the end of the belt is five centimeters.
Black belt ranks are distinguished by Roman numerals on the belt as shown below.
Grade Holder’s Belt
|Type of Belt
Red belt with a black stripe
Blue belt with a red stripe
Green with a blue stripe
Yellow belt with a green stripe
White belt with a yellow stripe
First to Ninth Degree
The above colors have not been arbitrarily chosen. They are, in fact, steeped in tradition. The colors of black, red and blue denote the various levels of hierarchy during the Koguryo and Silla Dynasties. A half black and half white belt is used for the junior black belt holder.
MEANING OF BELT COLORS
|White –Yellow –
|Signifies Innocence, as that of a beginning student who has no previous knowledge of Taekwon-Do.
Signifies the Earth from which a plant sprouts and takes root as the Taekwon-Do foundation is being laid.
Signifies the plant’s Growth as the Taekwon-Do skill begins to develop.
Signifies the Heaven, towards which the plant matures into a towering tree as training in Taekwon-Do progresses.
Signifies Danger, cautioning the student to exercise control and warning the opponent to stay away. Opposite of White, therefore, signifying the maturity and proficiency in Taekwon-Do. It also indicates the wearer’s imperviousness to darkness and fear.
How to fold the do bok
1. Fold at the center vertically 2. Fold on the third of the lower part
3. Fold again at the center
|4. Place the folded pants on
the shirt so the waist overlaps the collar 5. Fold one side inward first
6. Fold the sleeve at the center
7. Fold the opposite side inward
|8. Fold the opposite sleeve at the center|
9. Fold the shirt at the center
10. Fold again in half
11. Place the center of the folded belt at the center of the folded do bok.
|12. Tie the belt with a square knot|
How to tie the belt
|1. Hold the belt at the center
||2. Place the belt on the umbilicus
||3. Wrap it to the ribs
4. Cross it at the back keeping the belt held with the left hand under the other to prevent the belt from being twisted
6. Cross the right end over the belt at the umbilicus
7. Tighten it with a square knot
8. Both ends should be of the same length
Both ends are not
Every movement of Taekwon-Do is scientifically designed with specific purpose and a skillful instructor may, therefore, develop in the student a belief that success is possible for anyone.
Constant repetition teaches patience and the resolve to overcome any difficulty. The tremendous power generated from one’s body develops the self-confidence to meet any opponent, at any place, and in any situation. Sparring teaches humility, courage, alertness and accuracy, adaptability as well as self-control.
Patterning teaches flexibility, grace, balance and coordination while the fundamental exercises develop precision and teaches the method, principle, imagination and purpose. Eventually, this training permeates every conscious and subconscious action of the student.
Perhaps in some way, Taekwon-Do and the guiding hand of a qualified instructor may serve as an aid to the misguided, insecure, and physically weak because the student who comes to love the art quickly realizes that to excel, the body must be kept at its optimum peak of conditioning and he will, consequently, hesitate to jeopardize his training in any way.
Thus, Taekwon-Do offers a strict self-imposed discipline along with the spirit of cooperation and mutual respect. Together with discipline there are many who need and search for acceptance and leadership are anxious to associate with a group or strong leader. If the student trains conscientiously, he will easily be accepted by his peers and superiors.
If the instructor and ranking belts are articulate, well-groomed, polite, confident, intelligent and understanding, this leadership will provide, perhaps, the best of all possible influences on the student. Prejudice is taught at an early age but there is little time for petty prejudices while sharing the camaraderie and Spartan training atmosphere of Taekwon-Do.
Through severe training in classes, one learns to communicate with the obvious result that racial barriers are stripped away. The harmonious exchange of Taekwon-Do between races certainly helps to eradicate the unfortunate lack of understanding that often exists between people.
Obviously, the training one receives in Taekwon-Do has numerous other advantages. Taekwon-Do can be quite beneficial for preparing youth not only for taking his place in society, but also for his academic life. The art teaches, among other things, tenacity and concentration; and it is also conductive for relieving the tensions and pressures effectuated by the rigors of long tedious hours of study. A session of training can refresh the student and help calm and clear the mind, permitting the student to once again focus his energies completely on his studies.
Students tend to become lethargic and distracted after long hours in the confines of a classroom. Through breaking the student learns to clear his mind and remove obstacles that might normally detract from focused power.
Using the same principle against a specific target a diligent student can learn to concentrate his resources with a minimum loss of energy. Taekwon-Do also tends to accelerate a student’s process of maturation, since the seriousness of the art, its potentiality and the profound respect he eventually gains from the training stimulates the student’s sensitivity and perception.
Here is perhaps the instructor’s most important phase instruction: the ability to teach a student methods of using the body as a weapon without abusing that knowledge.
Though the process may be a frustrating one, the task of educating the public and responsible leaders in the community and introducing the stimuli of Taekwon-Do is a challenge all dedicated students should undertake.
It is hoped that the foregoing pages have sufficiently expressed the reasons why Taekwon-Do has been spreading like wildfire throughout the world.
However, it must be clearly remembered that moral civilization, while enabling the younger generations to possess their own view of life and philosophy, eradicating a deteriorative tendency is the prime reason of all.
No doubt one of life’s most treasured assets is good health. Therefore, one of the great cardinal sins of mankind is his abuse of this asset. Incidentally, he who does not abuse or hurt his own body, including the hair, is defined as obedient to his parents; so described in Oriental Philosophy.
Wealth, power, fame and the blessing of physical beauty are all relatively unimportant if one does not possess good health. An individual owes it to himself and his family to constantly maintain and improve his health. Confucius said: “Being in good health is a way of showing great devotion to the parents, as child’s health is their utmost concern.”
The students will realize how important Taekwon-Do is to human health through the following article written by Dr. Robert S. Arner, a black belt holder of Taekwon-Do.
Taekwon-Do may be practiced individually or in groups without the use of weights or special equipment. It is, in most cases, practiced alone except the sparring. Since the body sets it’s own limits, injuries or strains are rare and the physical condition of the student paces automatically. The entire system of the body, from fingers to the toes, is brought into play.
The training does not produce large knotty muscles; it tends to exchange flabby tissue for lean tissue. The thick muscles developed through weight training tend to push blood vessels apart without adding new ones to fill the gap. Such tissue has difficulty in receiving oxygen and disposing of waste through the blood stream and thus tires more easily.
Taekwon-Do’s high repetition, low resistance movements develop a longer, leaner and more flexible musculature. Such muscles have more of their areas close to blood supply routes, thus producing maximum endurance and well being. (Brown, p. 231)
The emphasis in twisting the trunk in executing the kicking movements and in counter balancing the hand movements builds a firm, well-muscled abdomen. The high leg raise preceding most of the kicks in Taekwon-Do also develops the side of the trunk and inner thigh muscles. The study of Taekwon-Do is particularly recommended for women because of this development of the lower abdomen, hips and inner thighs; areas that produce a youthful feminine figure for women of all ages.
After childbirth in particular, these areas are stretched and weakened; Taekwon-Do training is ideal to restore muscle tone for health as well as appearance.
The typical training regime, involving extensive movements of the entire body, raises the pulse rate and oxygen characteristics of the heart and lungs over an extended period. This increased ventilation is termed an aerobic effect (Copper, p. 108) and provides the following benefits:
1. Helps the lungs operate more efficiently.
2. Enlarges the blood vessels, making them more pliable and reducing
the resistance to blood flow, thus lowering the diastolic blood pressure.
3. Increases the blood supply, especially red blood cells and hemoglobin.
4. It makes the body tissue healthier in supplying it with more oxygen.
5. It conditions the heart, providing more reserve for emergencies.
6. It promotes better sleep and waste elimination.
The training tends to be a normalizer of body weight in that it results in a gain of solid tissue for the under-weight and a loss of body fat for the obese. The estimated calorie consumption for a vigorous Taekwon-Do workout is about six hundred calories per hour one of the highest for any sport activity.
Since the expenditure of about 3,500 calories results in weight loss of one pound, it will be seen that a weekly training schedule of only six hours will result in weight loss of one pound per week.
Taekwon-Do offers a super means of developing the characteristics of good performance in other sports, as suggested by Mcloy (p. 311):
1. Muscular strength.
2. Dynamic energy- the ability to throw oneself into performance with vigor.
3. Ability to change the direction of movement.
4. Agility- the ability to move the body quickly from one place in space to
5. Flexibility of joints, muscles and ligaments.
6. Peripheral vision.
7. Concentration and the ability to avoid distraction.
8. Understanding the mechanics and techniques of body movements.
“Focus” requires that we have muscular strength, balance and the exertion of dynamic energy when we concentrate all the power of the body at one point in space. Combinations of fundamental movements and patterns develop agility and the ability to change movements as well as direction while sparring develops peripheral vision and concentration.
The organized training procedures stress a systematic warm up of muscles and ligaments, increasing blood volume and flow through the muscles. These warming up exercises promote flexibility of joints, tendons and ligaments as well as serving to prevent injuries in training.
The regime also stresses warming down exercises after training to pump down the accumulation of blood and fluid present in the muscles after violent exercises. If this is not done, stiffness and discomfort will result. (Williams, p. 55)
These techniques of warming up and warming down as well as the breathing exercise taught are other examples of the highly developed science of body mechanics and physiology contained within formal Taekwon-Do training.
The attacking “Yell” that is taught also has its basic physiology. Aside from serving to demoralize the opponent, the “Yell” serves also to tighten the lower abdominal muscles to prevent injury in the event of an unexpected counter-attack. In addition, the exhalation, or thoracic grunt as practiced also by weightlifters or wrestlers serves to equalize pressure increase in the thorax which may result from violent exertion, thus preventing injury to the vital organs. The complete exhalation of the “Yell” serves to expel the tidal air of the lungs thus increasing the breathing or vital capacity of the lungs.
|It can be seen that the study of Taekwon-Do is recommended for men, women and children. It may provide benefits in perceptual-motor organization, concentration, vision, body development, aerobic conditioning of the heart and lungs and provides training in body control which is valuable in the pursuit of any other sport or physical activity. Coupled with the obvious benefits in self-defense and the satisfaction of mastering ancient art form, it would appear that Taekwon-Do should be part of the life of all people for all their life.
REFERENCES Brown, Roscoe, C. and Gerald S. Kenyon Ed,.”Classical Studies on Physical Activity.” Prentice-Hall, Inc., New Jersey, 1968 Cooper, Kenneth H. “Aerobics,” M. Evans and Co., N.Y. 1968 Williams, J.G.P., “Medical Aspects of Sport and Physical Fitness,” Perfamon Press, London, 1965 Dr. Robert S. Arner, Optometrist
Nothing can be comparable to good hea
(Him Ui Wolli)
|The beginning student may ask; “Where does one obtain the power to create the devastating results attributed to Taekwon-Do?” This power is attributed to the utilization of a persons full potential through the mathematical application of Taekwon-Do techniques.
The average person uses only 10 to 20 percent of his potential. Anyone, regardless of size, age, or sex who can condition himself to use 100 percent of his potential can also perform the same destructive techniques.
REACTION FORCE (Bandong Ryok)
According to Newton’s Law, every force has as equal and opposite force. When an automobile crashes into a wall with the force of 2,000 pounds, the wall will return a force of 2,000 pounds; or forcing the end of the seesaw down with a ton of weight will provide an upward force of the same weight; if your opponent is rushing towards you at a high speed, by the slightest blow at his head, the force with which you strike his head would be that of his own onslaught plus that of your blow.
The two forces combined; his, which is large, and yours, which is small is quite impressive. Another reaction force is your own. A punch with the right fist is aided by pulling back the left fist to the hip.
CONCENTRATION (Jip Joong)
By applying the impact force onto the smallest target area, it will concentrate the force and therefore, increase its effect. For example, the force of water coming out of a water hose is greater if the orifice is smaller. Conversely, the weight of a man spread out on snow shoes makes hardly any impression on the snow. The blows in Taekwon-Do are often concentrated onto the edge of the open palm or to the crook of the fingers.
It is very important that you should not unleash all your strength at the beginning but gradually, and particularly at the point of contact with your opponent’s body, the force must be so concentrated as to give a knock-out blow. That is to say, the shorter the time for the concentration, the greater will be the power of the blow. The utmost concentration is required in order to mobilize every muscle of the body onto the smallest target area simultaneously.
In conclusion, concentration is done in two ways: one is to concentrate every muscle of the body, particularly the bigger muscles around the hip and abdomen (which theoretically are slower than the smaller muscles of other parts of the body) towards the appropriate tool to be used at the proper time; the second way is to concentrate such mobilized muscles onto the opponent’s vital spot. This is the reason why the hip and abdomen are jerked slightly before the hands and feet in any action, whether it be attack or defense. Remember, jerking can be executed in two ways: laterally and vertically.
EQUILIBRIUM (Kyun Hyung)
Balance is of utmost importance in any type of athletics. In Taekwon-Do, it deserves special consideration. By keeping the body always in equilibrium, that is, well balanced, a blow is more effective and deadly. Conversely, the unbalanced one is easily toppled. The stance should always be stable yet flexible, for both offensive and defensive movements.
Equilibrium is classified into both dynamic and static stability. They are so closely inter-related that the maximum force can only be produced when the static stability is maintained through dynamic stability.
To maintain good equilibrium, the center of gravity of the stance must fall on a straight line midway between both legs when the body weight is distributed equally on both legs, or in the center of the foot if it is necessary to concentrate the bulk of body weight on one foot. The center of gravity can be adjusted according to body weight. Flexibility and knee spring are also important in maintaining balance for both a quick attack and instant recovery. One additional point; the heel of the rear foot should never be off the ground at the point of impact. This is not only necessary for good balance but also to produce maximum power at the point of impact.
BREATH CONTROL (Hohup Jojul)
Controlled breathing not only affects one’s stamina and speed but can also condition a body to receive a blow and augment the power of a blow directed against an opponent. Through practice, breath stopped in the state of exhaling at the critical moment when a blow is landed against a pressure point on the body can prevent a loss of consciousness and stifling pain. A sharp exhaling of breath at the moment of impact and stopping the breath during the execution of a movement tenses the abdomen to concentrate maximum effort on the delivery of the motion, while a slow inhaling helps the preparation of the next movement. An important rule to remember; Never inhale while focusing a block or blow against an opponent. Not only will this impede movement but it will also result in a loss of power.
Students should also practice disguised breathing to conceal any outward signs of fatigue. An experienced fighter will certainly press an attack when he realizes his opponent is on the point of exhaustion. One breath is required for one movement with the exception of a continuous motion.
Mathematically, the maximum kinetic energy or force is obtained from maximum body weight and speed and it is all important that the body weight be increased during the execution of a blow. No doubt the maximum body weight is applied with the motion of turning the hip. The large abdominal muscles are twisted to provide additional body momentum. Thus the hip rotates in the same direction as that of the attacking or blocking tool. Another way of increasing body weight is the utilization of a springing action of the knee joint. This is achieved by slightly raising the hip at the beginning of the motion and lowering the hip at the moment of impact to drop the body weight into the motion.
In summary, it is necessary to point out that the principles of force outlined here hold just as true today in our modern scientific and nuclear age as they did centuries ago.
I am sure that when you go through this art, both in theory and in practice, you will find that the scientific basis of the motions and the real power which comes out a small human body cannot fail to impress you.
Speed is the most essential factor of force or power. Scientifically, force equals mass multiplied by acceleration (F = MA) or (P = MV2).
According to the theory of kinetic energy, every object increases its weight as well as speed in a downward movement. This very principle is applied to this particular art of self-defense. For this reason, at the moment of impact, the position of the hand normally becomes lower than the shoulder and the foot lower than the hip while the body is in the air.
Reaction force, breathing control, equilibrium, concentration, and relaxation of the muscles cannot be ignored. However, these are the factors that contribute to the speed and all these factors, together with flexible and rhythmic movements, must be well coordinated to produce the maximum power in Taekwon-Do.
|Fig. A||Fig. B
TRAINING SECRETS OF TAEKWON-DO
An old proverb says that even heaven cannot make a diligent worker, poor. However, in Taekwon-Do diligence or intensive training alone does not produce quality techniques. On the contrary, instructions from a false or unqualified instructor would be worse than not being taught at all because unscientific movements not only reduce the power but require a tremendous amount of time to correct.
On the other hand, under the proper guidance of a competent instructor, a student who trains earnestly with dedication will learn the true techniques of Taekwon-Do in a comparatively short period of time with less effort.
Students should keep in mind the following secrets:
1. To study the theory of power thoroughly.
2. To understand the purpose and meaning of each movement clearly.
3. To bring the movement of eyes, hands, feet and breath into a single coordinated action.
4. To choose the appropriate attacking tool for each vital spot.
5. To become familiar with the correct angle and distance for attack and defense.
6. Keep both the arms and legs bent slightly while movement is in motion.
7. All movements must begin with a backward motion with very few exceptions.
8. To create a sine wave during the movement by utilizing the knee spring properly.
9. To exhale briefly at the moment of each blow except for a connecting motion.