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Chapter 3.
Part I. HARMONY

<previous text>
  The World, Man, and Taekwondo are One  

   

"What is truth?"
"... Put your hand in water and try to grasp it."

 


The principle of Taekwondo is beyond distinctions. This is different than confusing or misunderstanding distinctions. Only when a Taekwondo-Een accepts this truth over every distinction he can stop measuring things by his own prejudicial measure of good or bad and come to accept everything. This is not confusion between this and that, but rather accordance with the figure of Do.

Thus, a man aware of the real truth grasps both that a mountain is just a mountain and is different from the sea, as well as that the mountain's slope extends even to the bottom of the sea while moisture from the sea reaches to the mountain's very summit. He then naturally comes to recognize that it is but a limited cognition that distinguishes mountain from sea as neither eternal nor ultimate. This can be applied to all things, including Taekwondo. Thus, every person who has mastered Taekwondo knows that punching and kicking are ultimately the same, even though each possesses distinctive functions. Ultimately he comes to realize that everything else is the same in this way...

To transcend every distinction not only differs from confusing and misunderstanding distinctions but also embraces all necessary distinctions. Transcending distinctions while also including them is equal to both accepting every distinction with no attachment to anything in particular, and grasping the non-distinctive truth which makes every distinction possible. Therefore, although the truth of Taekwondo ultimately denies the division of Taekwondo into the three aspects of Musool (martial technique), Muyae (martial art) and Mudo (martial principle), it also affirms and accepts such distinctions. What then are the aspects of Musool, Muyae and Mudo in Taekwondo?

Musool refers to the functional aspect of Taekwondo towards a certain objective. Muyae refers to its artistic aspect, which refines technique for the sake of technique itself. Mudo refers to the comprehensive aspect, which includes both as the same, all of them and nothing of them. Muyae, which refers to the pursuit of technique for the sake of technique, may seem blind, however, it too contains its rationality, which is immanent in the life of each of us. We can understand this rationality by reflecting upon man and life. Although man is a rational being, he is so only in the limited process of pursuing a certain end. Once removed from that process he is as blind as natural things. This, however, is all rather natural, that is, an aspect of the harmony of man and nature, and this is the foundation of an unseen but absolute rationality.

Musool (martial technique), Muyae (martial art) and Mudo (martial principle) are simply One and ultimately cannot be divided. Thus, complete Musool necessarily includes Do to be expanded into Mudo; so Mudo without technique is also vacant. The art is an expression and appearance of man beyond distinctions, so it contains both technique and Do to reveal it. Do cannot be perceived. Since Do penetrates everything in the world there must also be Do in the very perception of it. Instead, we can meet Do by way of Yae (arts). Therefore, there is no difference at all between Musool, Muyae and Mudo, and there is no difference between what is Taekwondo and what is not Taekwondo.

Some regard it trivial and valueless only to discuss the techniques of Taekwondo without talking about the immense principle that penetrates everything, and this is because he misunderstands the philosophy of Taekwondo, or even Taekwondo itself. Everything on earth lies under the sky, and man, though he may possess great dignity, is merely the smallest portion of this entirety. So if there is Do in the practice of Taekwondo then it must be such a principle as penetrates the world entire, man and Taekwondo at once. Thus, the truth of Taekwondo emerges only when the world, man and his motions are perfectly harmonized with one another, and it can be applied to every situation without fault. Therefore, one who practices Taekwondo correctly can obtain both Yae9) and Do, even if he has learned merely a simple technique.


<footnotes>
9) Within the context of the Korean language, "Yae" can mean both art and etiquette.

 

 

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