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Chapter 14.
Part III. Samjae

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  Taekwondo's Motion in Harmony with Rhythm  

   

"I am too slow."
"You are just in too much of a hurry."

 


The most important factor in reading the rhythm of your opponent's changes is his breath. After all, breath is the mainstream of life, and motions and changes belong to the living process. You can move only because you are alive, and your internal and external changes are inclined to harmonize with each other, converging to a wide accord. Therefore, there can be no movement of your opponent that is alive and absolutely separated from the rhythm of breathing. Even hard motion, when in accord with breathing, not only does not exhaust your energy but boosts it. On the other hand even the simplest motion, done out of accord with breathing, tires first your muscles and then your whole body. Man's best and most perfect motion is simply breathing itself.

Thus, that breath results in motion and motion makes rhythm and rhythm determines distance is a principle of nature fundamental to every person that practices Taekwondo. Distance in terms of Taekwondo is the gap between what you want and what your opponent wants. Hiding your breath and seeking out that of your opponent, you can hide your intentions while catching his. In the process, the proper distance between you and your opponent will be properly established. Distance results from rhythm and determines attack and defense, which is critical in cases of survival. Therefore, it can be said that staying alive in Taekwondo means keeping your rhythm perfect with the world.

Taken this way, correct motion in Taekwondo simply means adapting to your opponent and maintaining a proper rhythm. Regardless of its speed, a correct motion is always rhythmical. Because it is always rhythmical its pace may be quickened or slackened and still be proper. Because your motion is rhythmical, your opponent cannot free himself from it, for your rhythmical motion cannot come into being unless your will is harmonized with the world. Your opponent is representative of the world you face, so his motions are parts of it, thus they comprise a part of your motion's rhythm as well.

Rhythm is in continuous change. Continuous change is natural. You can find it in every aspect of all things. Therefore, the perfect rhythm concerns not only speed and modes of motion, but also strong or weak power, wild or moderate tide, hasty or slow tempo, and so forth, so that rhythm consists in the harmony that emerges only after everything properly accords with one another. The motions of Taekwondo never deny rhythm. Rather, they are applied to every rhythm in harmony. Therefore, the resulting perfect motion of Taekwondo is so rhythmical that it may be regarded as a refined dance.

 

 

 

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