Preface to the English ver.
and Nothingness are to be Born Together as One
"How should I begin Taekwondo?"
Master stood up without a word and I followed him.
Man is by necessity born with his mind and body on earth,
and it is impossible to maintain one's mind and body in harmony unless
one relies on the principle that has existed since before human existence.
This principle, according to which everyone
can control his own mind and body and live his life, has been called
"TAEKWONDO"6) by senior masters.
There are ways in which the planets move through the sky, ways in which
birds and beasts travel along the earth, and also rules that mankind
should obey in society. Likewise, there is also a right way by which
we should control our hands and feet whenever we make a motion. This
is another aspect of TAEKWONDO. Man's life can be constructed only by
his own motions, and such motion contains within it everything of him,
including inherent nature. Owing to these reasons, we may term Taekwondo
a Do (),
which contains the eternal principle.
Do is what makes everything such, i.e., it is the principle that penetrates
all things. The very principle that imbues and penetrates and constitutes
the natural "suchness" of all things is called Do. It transcends
every distinction and discrimination. So there is neither a part nor
a whole in it. Because it has neither part nor whole, to know it is
to know everything. Therefore, every single word written here is not
a piece of knowledge on TAEKWONDO. It is an entirety of itself that
Since early times many men and women, relying on what
each of them had attained, have divided TAEKWONDO into three aspects;
i.e. Musool (martial technique), Muyae (martial art), and Mudo (martial
principle). Musool (martial technique) refers to those techniques with
which you can control and conquer your opponent. Muyae (Martial art)
is the method of obtaining harmony of mind and body with which you use
the martial techniques at the level of art, sublimating distinctions
between mind and body into perfect harmony. Mudo (Martial principle)
refers to the comprehension of the ultimate truth beyond the more practical
level of Muyae. All of these distinctions among Musool, Muyae and Mudo,
however, will and must disappear in the end. Thus, talking about Taekwondo,
as merely Mudo will hide its true Do. Things people distinguish look
as different from one another as if such distinctions were real. What
is real, however, is the existence of the entirety of everything mixed
in changes with one another. Therefore, Do reveals itself in the simple
practice of Taekwondo. Therefore, everyone should know that even the
truth of the words you read here are not in the book but rather in the
right motions of those who perform Taekwondo.
exists in reality. However, since it transcends every distinction though
you may grasp it you cannot explain it. Therefore, there is no one who
can talk about Taekwondo only as Mudo (martial principle). For this
very reason ancient masters referred to it only as "Muyae"
(martial art) but not "Mudo" (martial principle), even though
such a profound martial principle has not been kept alive and vibrant
for several thousand years now. It is to instruct people in a direct
way the meaning concealed behind words that I employ the word "Mudo"
(martial principle). But Taekwondo must be understood as the total Oneness
of Musool (martial technique), Muyae (martial art), and Mudo (martial
principle), in the past as in the present. Do is inherent in every aspect
6) In this work, the concepts of "Taekwondo" and "TAEKWONDO"
are distinguished from each other. "TAEKWONDO" refers to the
philosophical principles that man should follow in his life (and which
are revealed in the practice of Taekwondo) - in other words, the "Do"
() of Taekwondo. "Taekwondo",
on the other hand, refers to the principles of motion for controlling
one's mind and body - in other words, the visible features of Taekwondo
as a series of trained movements. Naturally, both are pronounced the same,
and indeed both refer to the same thing, only each to respective aspects
of it. This distinction is made simply to provide a logically clearer
explanation of what the old masters have always taught. Some readers may
consider this distinction unnecessary, in which case they may certainly
choose to disregard it and think of TAEKWONDO and Taekwondo in the same
on this chapter