A. Confucianism and Taekwondo philosophy.
I have stated previously the Sin Sun Do philosophy(or Hwa Rang Do philosophy), which is the foundation of Taekwondo philosophy, includes all of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism. Particularly, it is now necessary to examine more precisely about the relationships between Taekwondo philosophy and those Confucian and Taoist theories.
We can find out the immediate relationships between Taekwondo and Confucianism in the martial characters of Taekwondo. As stressed in the preface of Nan Rang tombstone, it must be the aim of learning Taekwondo that one honors his parents as well as devote himself to the country when going out. Honoring his parents sincerely one must both study hard and obtain enough power that he can control bad men and be healthy all the way on one hand, and he must equip himself with those capacities needed for his country and have courage to fight againt the aggressions at once, devoting himself to the country. All of these converge into one, i.e. the possession of both literary and military, which is the essence of exercising Taekwondo.
Taekwondo gives much importance on etiquettes, and this also shows the immediate relations of both. When one begins to learn Taekwondo, he learns its etiquettes at first. Why are they so important? The skills of Taekwondo, do not encourage him to make powerful strength of body with which he is to fight against his enemy, but allows him be able to control his opponent with moderate motions and exact position going through the stream of the principles of nature. As mentioned just above, the principles of nature pervade into society and humanity, resulting in etiquettes. Thus we call that of nature Cholli(), that of mankind Illyun(), both of which are not different from each other. There exist such an insight into that unity of principles in the practice, skills and the philosophy of Taekwondo. Therefore, the Taekwondoman naturally learns what is close to mankind at first and then what is far from mankind next. The former are principles of nature, Cholli, the latter the principles of mankind, Illyun. That is why the master teaches etiquette at first, then the basic positions and skills. Con-zi teaches this in a book of confucianism, Non-eo() ; "pupils, honor your parents at home, respect the old when out, be careful and sincere in each task and love all of your neighbors making the acquaintance of liberal people. If you can do more than all of these, study." This instruction recommends the Taekwondoman should be versed in what is close to them then learn the principles of nature next.
The essence of what Con-zi teaches contains not only etiquette but also liberality, In (). The etiquette is a kind of methodology whereas the liberality is a kind of teleology. To learn the exact positions and basic skills, then to train and cultivate one's mind and body, this is what the etiquette implies and moreover to both control himself and make others at peace, this is what the liberality implies. They say about this, "Martialism is a two edged sword/Used to feel both opponent and self/How is it we fail to temper our deeds,/Taekwondo, in truth says its right to avoid/Action excessive and tells us instead that/Through one single action we/Can certainly make others alive" in the Taekwondo poem, which is equal to the instruction of Confucianism that it is what the gentleman ought to do to make all the people comfortable through his training and that it is to love others what the liberality means. Therefore, the Koreans' traditional martial art Taekwondo aims not only to acquire power and skill for self-defense but to perfect oneself with the character of devoting one's life to the safeguard of justice, of respecting the responsibilities and of embodying the thought of universal equality.
In addition to them, Taekwondo philosophy coincide with that of I Ching, i.e. Yin Yang which is called the philosophy of nature of Confucianism. We can confirm it most distinctivly in the Poomsae of Taekwondo. The pattern of Taekwondo's basic Poomsae, Taegeuk, shows the ideogram of the I Ching, i.e hexagram according to which the Taekwondoman should move through the principle of eight bar=signs(called eight Kwae). So they say, "The Taegeuk Poomsae was established on the basis of profound philosophy of Taegeuk to be trained by the Taekwondo beginner. Its Poomsae line and Seogi are based on the invariable basic thought of Taekwondo. The monism of Taeguk is the frame of this Poomsae, each Kwae being reflected in a pattern of Taegeuk Poomsae, which elucidates the Taekwondo spirit and the profoundness of Taekwondo techniques." And concern with the origin of them, we can find out the intimate relations among the philosophy of Taekwondo, that of I Ching and the general Korean thoughts. "According to the old book of history, sinsi Bonki, around(B.C. 35), a son of the 5th emperor of the Hwan-ung Dynasty in an ancient nation of the Tong-yi race whose name was Pokhui, was said to have received the Heaven's ordinance to have an insight in the universal truths, thereby observing rituals for the Heaven and finally receiving the eight kwaes(bar-signs). Ater all, this has been passed down through a long, long history by King Mun, Chou tsu, Confucius and Scholar Kim Il bu, all descendants of the Tong-yi race. Scholar Kim finally completed the present Taegeuk mark."
The essence of philosophy of I Ching is the
change. The contents of I Ching was created symbolizing the appearances
of change into Yin Yang and the sign of Taegeuk, which explains the
whole changes with each meaning of this 4 sang(trigram) and 8 Kwae
that are equal to doubled and triple Yin Yang.
Thus Taekwondo itself lends most importance to change, which makes
Taekwondo more rhythmical than any other martial arts. Every basic
skill is to be performed in relation to the next motion, so is every