Having Softness and Hardness Be One
"Who do you think will be the winner?"
"The man who lowers his pose in humble
way will be the winner."
Everything is with <Do>, and everything shows itself in its figure as a change of Yin/Yang. Thus when we talk of Yin/Yang as a sort of abstraction we can also talk of the hardness and softness as a sort of its concrete feature. Old people have termed this hardness and softness "Kang-Yu()" for a long time, and this is the very useful concept for explanations about motions of Taekwondo, thus every motions of Taekwondo should have in its right form both hardness and softness together in each of <Sool>, <Yae> and <Do>. Therefore the true Taekwondo man is to learn both. The hardness and the softness help or fight each other in the change of Taekwondo, so the soft capably suppress down the hard while the hard capably cut off the soft. Also do the soft capably keep the hard alive making it changeful while the hard capably keep the soft strong making its bones inside.
How is it possible that the hard can win the soft sometimes while the soft also win the hard another times in their fight? It is because the winning and losing begins with what you want to do and by way of the force in your motion, then it returns to your will. You can see only motions and feel only force. The force follows the will. The hard is based on force and bones while the soft is based on will and vitality. When wills of two men fight each other none of them can but rely on their force and motions. Force and motions under will's control are to be unified and divided circularly so that it contains both firmness and weakness together and both hardness and softness together. Therefore, since the hard can win the soft it is easy to control over the opponent thrusting his weak and soft point with your firm and hard part. On the other hand, the soft can surpass the hard because the soft does not run against the hard but wrap it and lead it. After all, the subject who controls or who is under a control is the man who uses the hardness and the softness, yet is not the hardness or the softness itself. The ways the hard and the soft win each other are like the followings. The soft can wrap and lead the hard only when each of its parts cooperates with another in a whole motion. Cutting down this whole the hard can suppress down the soft. On the other hand, the hard should adapt itself along what the will intends. Leading the direction the soft can keep the hard opposed to the world.
No matter how strong and hard your technique may be you cannot succeed in the attack at the opponent without softness in it, and no matter how soft your technique may be you should also have the hardness in it so as to catch and break his will. Only with its hard body and sharp edge a knife can pierce a target when thrown, however, in case that a sheath which covers the knife were also strong and hard it would collide with its sheath, and it will get dull. On the other hand, in case that the knife were wrapped by cloth when thrown the softness of the cloth will not spoil its sharpness. The sheath, which were also so strong and hard as its knife, would rather be useless, so it is made smooth and soft, and the string of a bow which shoots arrows should be pliable.
It is only proper that the life is soft. Therefore, a motion of Taekwondo, which intends to control over the opponent's life, should necessarily include both hardness and softness together. It's because the strongness and hardness also come from your own life, which is soft, too. This can be compared to a bowl that contains hard stones; if we put hard stones in a bowl that is also hard they would collide and run against one another, and it is obvious they will get week and broken at last. Hard stones should be put in soft cloth to avoid their damages. In the same manner you ought to have your body not strong and hard but rather soft and flexible. This is how you can have strongness and hardness in softness of your motion of Taekwondo.
Just as life is supported by two legs of the hardness and the softness the legs which support a personality are the Mun(Literateness ) and the Mu(Martiality ). Since the Mun(Literateness) is soft, you learning literal knowledge build such a personality as is reconciled with others without quarrels, and since the Mu(Martiality) is hard you training martial arts grows such a personality as is courageous with fortitude to fight against any injustice. The softness of a literal knowledge never get damaged even if you face the opponent who argues against you, but he rather helps you to learn more with knowledge and argumentation most cases. This can be compared to that the pieces of cotton wool never get damaged in their collisions. The hardness of martial arts capably helps you to break down what resists you, and to give rise to what you want to do. There can be neither contradiction nor subjective distortion in it. Thus it capably breaks unnecessary ideas and comes in direct contact with reality.
If you only learn literal knowledge not training martial arts your personality, promoted with conceptual ideas, will be filled with doctrinairisms and wild fancies, so you will be nothing more than an effeminate highbrow. Also if you only train martial arts with little literal knowledge your force will get lost of its direction and may turn to violence which will kill itself and you at once. Therefore the lack of any of both prevents you from completing good personality, thus you ought to train both Mun-Mu() to get the balance of the hardness and the softness in it. It is closely related to your having the balanced Mun-Mu that you as a Taekwondo man learn both the hardness and the softness in a wide view.
You should train your body rather soft and flexible than hard and strong in Taekwondo, and this is based on the same principle as that you should have your opponent opposed to the world and harmonize yourself with the whole of both. The soft and flexible body adapts itself to every kind of change while the strongness and hardness in it breaks down whatever resists it. This is the TAEKWONDO, which is neither the softness nor the hardness yet a unity that includes the both. It has not had any proper name, but it can be called "naturality" if it were given. It is almost impossible without naturality that the hardness turns soft and the softness contains hardness so that various changes are harmonized in oneness. You should not forget that you want the strongness and the hardness from Taekwondo not to suppress down yourself but to control over your oppponent.