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Chapter 4.
Part I. HARMONY

<previous text>
  Picturing the Appearance of Taekwondo  

   

"Tell me, how can I know the ultimate truth of Taekwondo?"
"... Have you ever seen the time?"

 


"Taekwondo" refers to an activity that pursues harmonized growth and improvement through spiritual and physical activities, given that one must overcome the extreme opposition for survival between you and your opponent. Taekwondo as a concrete system of fighting skills can imply all of these meanings.

The extreme opposition for survival refers in most cases to the fight that puts life at risk, but is not confined merely to that. Rather, this relation includes all cases where you fight antagonistically for everything you have; for example, the case of a political struggle for the life or death of a people or nation, or else an investment of all one's time and money in a business or enterprise, and so forth.

This extreme opposition for survival means that there is opposition in what you want to pursue. Life is a continuity of pursuing what you want and all trivial opposition is actually related to everything in life. It is natural for everyone to try to overcome such antagonistic relations. However, it is something other than Taekwondo if you try to avoid such opposition by becoming attached to what is comfortable or safe; while it is Taekwondo if you directly face all of these oppositions, antagonisms, and challenges and overcome them through your own efforts.

That is, Taekwondo pushes you to advance in the world through overcoming oppositions and antagonisms, so that you might attain improvement and growth. These oppositions and antagonisms exist everywhere in life, and thus, while merely being a part of life Taekwondo also contains the whole of life. We can therefore educate people through Taekwondo, a concrete system of fighting skills. There is neither part nor whole in Do, and such is it in life.

There is no difference between the figure of Taekwondo stated above and TAEKWONDO as regards the correct way of controlling your mind and body and living your life. Taekwondo as an activity pattern is to the body as TAEKWONDO, as the right way of using your mind and body, is to the mind. Taekwondo can exist only after man exists, while we can also say that man can exist only after Taekwondo exists, since TAEKWONDO and the Do of everything are one and the same. Therefore, it is altogether natural that man and Taekwondo resemble each other in this way.

The nature of the relationship between you and your opponent in Taekwondo is that of extreme opposition for survival. In the most concrete cases, this manifests itself as a violent face-off for survival. Ultimately, Taekwondo is very antagonistic, which may offend those who wish to evaluate Taekwondo in positive emotional terms.

Additionally, that relationship of opposition that contains the origin of Taekwondo is also both the site where life begins, and where the possibilities of the world are made manifest; these possibilities occur with change as everything changes. That is to say, the fundamental meaning underlying everything's existence is synonymous with that of Taekwondo's existence. A baby is born through the ghastly pain of its mother just as a living thing can evolve and grow only through the gruesome struggle for existence. A historian once noted that history is the continuous process of challenge and response; nothing exists in isolation. The essence of life is just such a process itself, continuous change undertaken in the context of the world's tensions and struggles. Everyone who understands Taekwondo comes to realize this truth not only through his thoughts but through his actions and his life.

Taekwondo, whose source is opposition, is the figure of man who does not stay within that opposition but progresses in overcoming it for the sake of peace and harmony. Regardless of what some may maintain, this is the same as happens in life. It is in autumn and winter that plants bear their fruit and sow their seeds to await the rebirth of spring; a beast runs after its prey due to hunger, while it flees to avoid its natural enemy. A plant cannot be a living thing without the process of autumn and winter and the bearing the fruit and sowing of seeds. Nor can a beast live without both pursuing its prey and fleeing its natural enemy. If life consisted merely in maintaining one's physical form and shape then dolls and other inanimate objects could also be regarded as alive. There are inevitable tensions and oppositions in the life of mankind and there cannot be life without the process of overcoming such challenges to it. Taekwondo may be likened to a tree whose roots are the essence of life that allows its branches to spread and flourish. The tree of Taekwondo can spread its branches only so long as somewhere its root exists also, those roots are the life of mankind.

By contemplating this truth you will come to understand that the opposition we dislike is not merely bad, nor is peace merely good. Only then can you accept all. These are the starting and ending points of what Taekwondo teaches us as the truth of life.

 

 

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