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Chapter 6.
Part I. HARMONY

<previous text>
  The Principles of Taekwondo are Simple  

   

"Why should I take a low posture?"
"Because it represents humility. The humble one will not be despised."

 


As every true Taekwondo-Een knows, the ultimate figure of Taekwondo is a simple skill-art, a simple mind, and a simple reality. However, a large number of extremities are hidden in this one simple figure. Just as Do underlies everything as One, so TAEKWONDO underlies every kind of change in that all kinds of movement are fundamentally One, and only the simple One transforms into all varieties at the same time. Thus, by trying every skill-art you can realize you can make all changes if you complete just one. Most people, however, cannot understand this.

This mystery of TAEKWONDO appears in Taekwondo, too. A competition finishes when you subdue or fell your opponent no matter what kind of swift skill you may use, but you have to practice various kinds of skills and exercise complicated movements to attain that one skill. By the way, one simple motion, without that training and exercise, cannot be performed nor can it work effectively against your opponent. This is because one simple motion can be performed only through the integration of all training.

This fundamental principle of Taekwondo may be expressed as, "everything of yourself should be put its own place; i.e. its most proper position within continuous change". The most proper position of everything moves in relation to everything else, so you must keep moving in the most harmonious way. In Taekwondo this principle is called "the way of Haneul (Heaven)"10).

The fact that everything of yours is put in its own proper place implies not simply that each hand and each foot with each part of your body is placed properly, but also that everything in a literal sense, including your mind, intention, speed, breath, sight and so forth, is in its best composition. This thought now brings us to the most simple principle of correct Taekwondo: everything should be put in its own place, even to the infinitely complicated, relying on your own personal conditions, the nature of your opponent, and in the situation in which you meet him. This shows that simplicity and complex precision are one and the same in Taekwondo.

The most proper position of something is not fixed but should be determined by harmony with others. Therefore, everything in Taekwondo moves adaptively and to the right position like the world that continues to change. Thus, Taekwondo can apply itself to everything.

On the other hand, the proper position is to be determined not at random but in accordance with its own evident order and law, even in changing flows. This is how TAEKWONDO can maintain its unchangeable nature in running time. However it may be named and conceived, the word or the name is not important here.

Thus, when everything of yours is placed in its own proper place you as a Taekwondo-Een can maintain your power and never waiver, whatever chaos may swirl around you, and if needed, can adjust yourself to every flow while concealing your power under a downy softness. When necessary, you can meet your opponent in a stagnant pose with perfect physical preparation, and sometimes you can attack his blind point with a swift motion, while at other times you may mix your movements into his by way of the same motion. On the other hand, with everything kept in its own place, there can be no unnecessary movement in the Taekwondo-Een's motion. Therefore, correct Taekwondo moves from one pose or motion to another with nothing at all between them.

It is a principle of Taekwondo that everything is to be kept its own place, which can be extended over to the principle of society and the general human condition. The perfect society can be made when social states, capabilities, and the rights of citizens are distributed and placed properly. We can settle into good etiquette and morality when we construct a good network of words and actions, attitudes and understandings, intentions and relations and posit them properly.

When everything of yours occupies its own place there is nothing in you that is not you. So, there is nothing to discard from within you, and not only as concerns Taekwondo. This has been extended conceptually by Lao-tsu as the "doing of not-doing" (êÓÙíêÓ)11) , by Confucius as "following one's heart's desire while not overstepping the boundaries of the right" (ðôãýá¶é°ÝÕë²Ï») ,12) and by the Buddha in the concepts of Moksa (ú°÷­)13) or Prajna (Vrajna, Úõå®).14)

In this way, Taekwondo essentially shares the principles of other systems, though in Taekwondo they have taken another form from the others. It is simple and natural that everything be put in its proper position, which is enormously difficult for those who don't know TAEKWONDO, yet rather easy for those who do. In its simplicity it is both difficult and easy, and it can be the wellspring of truth.



<footnotes>

10) The Korean term "Haneul" refers principally to the sky or heaven. It also incorporates the sense of oneness with bigness and god as the whole universe. "Han" shares the same etymology as the Korean "Hana" (One) and the Mongolian "Khan". Thus, the meaning of "Haneul" may be rendered as "the big and sole universe, or universal principle, symbolized by the sky."
11) Lao-tsu (Laozi ÒÇí­) emphasized this "not-doing", or wu-wei (ÙíêÓ), throughout his teachings. You can grasp his essential argument in the passage: êÓÙíêÓöÎÙíÜôö½, "By doing not-doing, there is nothing you cannot control." (Lao-tsu, Tao-Te Ching, Chapter Three).
12) Confucius said, "At fifteen, I had my mind bent on learning. At thirty, I stood firm. At forty, I had no doubts. At fifty, I knew the decrees of Heaven. At sixty, my ear was an obedient organ for the reception of truth. At seventy, I could follow my heart's desire while not overstepping the boundaries of the right" (Confucian Analects, 0204 í­èØ, çîä¨êóçéì»ò¤éÍùÊ, ß²ä¨ì»Ø¡, ÞÌä¨ì»Üôûã, çéä¨ì»ò±ô¸Ù¤, ׿ä¨ì»ì¼â÷, öÒä¨ì»ðôãýá¶é°, Üôë²Ï»).
13) "Moksa" (or Moksha) is "the final liberation of the soul when it is exempted from further transmigration; the bliss attained by this liberation. Also called MUKTI." I borrowed this term from Buddhism. In many cases this term is understood in relation to reincarnation, for it is frequently found in Buddhist religious scripture. However, its philosophical meaning is closer to the sense of "giving up life or the struggle of life". Many Sages have taught that most of our restrictions arise from our attachment to life, and thus have they have repeatedly argued we must give up the struggle for life in order to reach full enlightenment. The Buddhist name of this full enlightenment is Moksa. Of course, such talk of reincarnation is Buddhist in nature, yet I believe we can understand Moksa outside the shadow of religious doctrine.
14) "Prajna" in Buddhism refers to the direct awareness of emptiness of self, in the instance of all appearance. In other words, it refers to the wisdom of knowing that self and everything is empty, which goes beyond what can be said in words. If everything is empty then all distinctions must be untrue as distinction is also empty, and thus unreal. Any explanation is based upon words or concepts which are grounded in distinctions. Therefore, Prajna refers to the wisdom beyond distinction and literal explanation.

 

 

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