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Chapter 12.
Part II. Principles

<previous text>
  Not Losing Oneself  

   

"Haneul (Heaven) and Tang (Earth) make oneness in Saram (Man). That is all."

 


Man(Saram) exists between Heaven (Haneul) and Earth (Tang). Heaven and Earth derive their existence from man as they are divided from the one entirety that is Man. All things that change relatively, i.e. that have no inherent shape or form, are referred to by the name of Haneul (Heaven). All things that are relatively fixed, i.e. that assume concrete form, are referred to by the name of Tang (Earth). These categories each in turn may be divided into that which contains a subjective which distinguishes, and this belongs to the third category of Saram (Man). This distinguishing subjective that marks man is the will to act.

TAEKWONDO is not exceptional in that it is also composed of these three materials of Heaven, Earth, and Man (together known as the Samjae (»ïÀç[ß²î¦])18). It is important that you should always maintain yourself as you are without being led into a biased extremity in the battle against your opponent. This is a third principle, called "the way of Saram". Some have taught that this involves knowing oneself, or keeping to one's own sphere, or as a sort of golden mean. To express it differently, the way of Saram in Taekwondo is to return immediately to a settled pose, which is the core of each of your motions. This settled core is in perfect balance despite the endless changes and motions around it.

You, as a Taekwondo-Een who follow the way of Saram, should always keep yourself sufficiently trained and under an intense regimen of practice such that you never lose your way at any moment of Kyorugi19). It should be as a sort of personal realm in which you live. Within that realm you can be confident in your control over everything, and thus you will never lose predominance over others since you include others within your realm. By turn, if you broaden the possibility of this infinite position-keeping, your predominance will vanish and you will attain everything, relying solely upon your opponent's motion. This is possible because only after you first know the existence of your "I" can you then understand also the non-existence of the "I". It is essential for life that every living thing manage all of its processes and activities with a view towards self-preservation. Man is a life, and therefore, the way of Saram is naturally closest to the figure of life among the three elements of Samjae.

A plant begins as a seed, takes root, sprouts stems and leaves, puts forth flowers which become fruit that contain again the essential seeds of life. All of these changes occur because each stage, i.e. the seedling, roots, the mature tree, are nothing but a plant breathing together with the whole of nature from the deepest root to the tips of its many leaves. Otherwise, a seed would die as a mere crumb and a mature tree would be nothing more than a lump of wood.

 

 

Through all of these temporal processes the core, the essence, is the state of "being a plant", and spatially this core is the earth where it is rooted. Strength and weakness can only occur in being alive, and the strength is no different from life's growth. This is the form of the change of everything. The principle of Taekwondo is same as that of Nature.

The core, as it applies to the way of Saram(Man), means your own perfect pose which allows the most possibilities of adapting to each situation. It is the true figure of each Taekwondo-Een. You should return to your core naturally and immediately following each movement. This implies that you never actually leave your core, but just extend yourself to various figures before contracting back.

Since this core is each man's figure in practicing Taekwondo it is not at all fixed, but rather is determined by the relation of you to your opponent's motions, weapons, distance, and so forth. This is due to the fact that you undergo endless change in nature. Since, however, this principle is no more than an aspect of Taekwondo and everybody cannot but follow its correct principle it is fixed at the abstract level.

The structure of this change lies in the fact that everything that man conceives changes. Let us take a toy top for an example. Since the toy top will be troubled in its spinning with its swaying core when it spins, the core that regulates each change should be stable and firm. Once its core is stable and firm it can spin on any surface and stand upright in any situation.

Just as each part of the toy top turns swiftly back towards its core, your motion should turn swiftly back towards your core, i.e. to your balanced pose and position. Only the core of change can naturally link one change to another. Accordingly, whenever you kick you should immediately drop your foot back to its original pose, which makes the next skilled movement possible swiftly and naturally. This applies equally to the techniques of the hands.


<footnotes>
18) "Samjae" is the Korean term referring to the three elements of Haneul(Heaven), Tang (Earth), and Saram(Man). These three elements are not concrete things but abstract entities representing metaphysical concepts.
19) To put it most simply, Kyorugi means sparring. But Koreans can also refer to life or death combat by the word Kyorugi. Thus the central meaning of Kyorugi is close to sparring, but it can be more broadly nuanced to life or death struggle.

 

 

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