Through the preceding discussion we can
grasp that attack and defense are no different from each
other. Therefore, one should establish your opponent opposed
to the world but with one’s own harmony in it. Therein
will one realize the sameness of attack and defense that
is the nature of correct Taekwondo.
When you strike your opponent you should break his will
with your will, oppress his tide down with your tide, scatter
his vigor with your Kihap , and shatter his trunk with your
weapon. When you block the opponent’s attack you should
empty yourself to frustrate his intention, carry your tide
on his and scatter his sharpness and absorb yourself in
it to create your own attack. Seen in this way, how could
attack and defense not be the same?
If your hands and feet (your weapons) are firm and quick
you can injure the opponent at will. If your vigor is sharp
and you are skilled in controlling your battered spirit
you will suppress the opponent with ease and even without
injuring him. And if your tide is firm and deliberate you
will easily surpass him even without a fight. You can endure
the opponent’s attack if you are strong in body. You
can turn his attack to your own if you fill yourself firmly.
He will be unable to find a target to attack if you empty
yourself fully. How can one differentiate between attack
If you merge yourself with your opponent’s attack
and so have him opposed to the world in an efficient manner,
this defense will prove no less effective than the best
offense. As a result, the opponent will collapse by themselves,
owing to their own attack, driving themselves against the
earth to the loss of their power. Thus, as concerns attack
or defense we can say that neither is such but that thinking
makes it so; it is only what the world thinks that distinguishes
an attack from a defense. However, it is Taekwondo that
harmonizes an attack and defense into oneness, which is
manifested through action.
How can you follow these teachings?
Seek out an empty point in the opponent’s movements,
and then enter into it. As every motion is a continuous
flux of emptiness and fullness resulting in HeoSil, you
will surely find an empty point in his motion. You should
strike his Heo in it. At this moment you should harmonize
two kinds of distance between you and him: One is your attack
distance to penetrate his center, the other is your defensive
distance such that you do not draw back from his attack
but rather move suddenly aside to an unanticipated spot.
Correct distance for penetrating the opponent dictates
that you strike at his center, as soon as you spot a favorable
chance, breaking through his defenses with the tide of a
charging beast. What is critical is that you possess the
nature of a tidal swell submerging and overwhelming a rocky
Correct distance in moving aside dictates that you do not
attempt to directly counter the opponent’s fierce
attack with powerful tide, but rather suddenly move aside
to stab his mind with vacuity. It is important here that
you do not distance yourself far from him but maintain a
proper distance from him as you seek out your opportunity.
What is critical is that you not consider drawing back.
The secret tip to attaining these skills is to keep your
breathing even and under perfect control. Breath is the
main stem of change, extending from the bottom to the tip
of all vital phenomena, and the axis that binds mind and
body as one. Controlling breathing you can control mind
and the motion, and promoting your body which mediates between
the two, you can make a movement that accords with the mind
and body that supports such a motion.
In this manner you can calm your mind to control breathing,
with which you will generate balance and harmony in your
body’s vigor and reconcile them to the movements of
your bones and muscles, so that you can subdue your opponent
and defend against his attack. This is possible because
biological breathing flows consistently from each cell to
the entire mass. Therefore, breathing can ultimately prove
the resource of power to attack your opponent and protect
The key point of breath control, be it in attack or in
defense, is simple and the same whether or not you have
mastered the other skills of Taekwondo. It is to inhale
when blocking the opponent’s attack and exhale when
attacking the opponent, with no unnecessary breathing. To
inhale does not mean to merely take in air but to empty
your entirety to receive his fierceness, while to exhale
does not mean to merely release air but to fill your entirety
so as to explode with your inner energy. Both should be
done at once.