8. The Basics
In the World Pleasing Me
Only man is benevolent,
while Nature (jayeon) is indifferent.
This is called jayeon
The roughness of a mountain is suffering itself,
while just beside it can be found the ease and comfort of those
who does not climb its heights but dwell in its protective bosom.
You can encounter the peacefulness of those taking a rest next
to the severe thirst of others who run to and fro under the
blazing sun. In this same manner, you can always find the temptation
of comfort next to the pain of the transcendental discipline
of the Taekwondo-Een. Why does a Taekwondo-Een continue such
a painful struggle for transcendental discipline? Easy comfort
is but a manifestation of death. Life is ever the process of
distancing oneself from death; it is continuous change and activity.
The strain accompanying change is suffering. Life is struggle
Taekwondo has its roots in the border between
life and death. This border between life and death is the net
that closes increasingly in around life from outside. But the
net has neither inside nor outside. The Taekwondo-Een exits
the net continuously to begin again from a new inside of the
net. Taekwondo involves the process of escaping the boundary
between life and death toward life; and further more, implies
transcendence over the entire relationship. The Taekwondo-Een
pursues life and in the process transcends it. This is transcendence
to the inside of life.
Why is it that the net closing in on life has
neither inside nor outside? Why does the Taekwondo-Een fight
on the boundary between life and death? It is because the world
that includes Taekwondo is also opposed to Taekwondo. Put another
way, you inhabit a world while fighting with that world. In
the opposition to yourself you are the other and the other is
you. You as a Taekwondo-Een are in the world, yet having your
own life, you also struggle against the world. That struggle
can take on an infinite number of faces, there are countless
ways in which Taekwondo and the world can be involved with one
another. Life is an unavoidable fight, so you who practice Taekwondo
should plunge into it to the very end of your limits through
a transcendence to the inside of life. There you can experience
the realm where Taekwondo is, accepting life with pleasure.
Whenever you surpass your limits in Taekwondo you enlarge the
sphere of your own existence.
The process of Taekwondo training is that of
life compressed. What makes you live in spite of all sufferings?
It is only your will to live. And it is also only your will
that enables you to train beyond your limits. To overcome oneself
is to take one step further in the pleasure of internal solitude,
to establish a new objective a few steps farther than the last.
One endures a task more difficult than climbing a precipitous
cliff to find another self, and one does it for oneself alone.
You who continue such difficult and solitary Taekwondo training
can find contentment in it because it is your own will that
In Taekwondo one discerns that pleasure and
pain are two aspects of the same thing. Suffering and pleasure
are one in the process of surmounting one’s limitations.
This is the emotional meaning implicit in Taekwondo. The most
important truths are common. Those who have never experienced
pain cannot know true pleasure, while only those who have suffered
severe defeat can savor the delights of victory. Though you
find everywhere walls you must break down, you cannot help advancing.
This tension is the essence of life. It is always painful to
surpass your limits, but persist you must. This is the figure
of life dwelling within Taekwondo. When you realize this in
the right way you will find contentment; then you will find
pleasure in the world’s face.
50) The Korean term “jayeon” (ÀÚ¿¬[??])
literally means 'being as it is' or 'suchness of itself'. Its
English translation is “nature”, though unlike “jayeon”
the English word “nature” carries connotations of
birth, with its origin in the Latin “nascor”. The
English term “physis” has a closer affiliation to
the Korea “jayeon”.