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<Introduction>

4. What Concepts of Oriental Philosophy to Explain Taekwondo Philosophy?

 

 

It would be the traditional philosophy of Korea that is most proper to be used in explanations on Taekwondo philosophy. By the way, Choi, Chi-Won wrote in the preface of Nan-Rang monument, there had been a mysterious <Do(Գ)> called "Pung-Ryu" that includes Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism. Accordingly we can say it is very natural to explain philosophy of Taekwondo making use of concepts from any of those three philosophies. Thus, I investigated various books that can be said to contain Korean philosophy, with my own interpretations in one hand, and borrowed many important philosophical concepts from those three oriental philosophies on the other hand, to explain it. Among them all, it is "Cheon Bu Kyeong(ݬ:The Bible Given by Heaven)" that is most important and essential one that I relied on.

As a result, the entire contents of this book depends on the main concepts of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism like <Do>, <Yae>, <Sool>, <Yeok>, yin-yang, the great mean, the Three Dharma Seals(the three seals of the dharma)1), and Vrajna(or Prajn~aa)2), etc, in the framework of Cheon Bu Kyeong(CBK) I interpreted. And I relate them to the main concepts of Taekwondo skill like Kang-Yu, Heo-Sil, distance, tide, balance, poomsae, weopon and attack-defense etc. Then I organized the entire conceptual scheme along categories of Samjae that is essential concepts of CBK. I thought, however, they were not enough to suggest clear explanation of every aspect of Taekwondo. So I also included my own concept on life.

At first, I explained Taekwondo at the three levels of Mudo, Muyae and Musool. In this proecess I added an explanation of concept on <Do>, mentioning why it is needed to understand Taekwondo. You can read this part at the beginning(from Ch.1 to Ch.3) of the entire text, and as it is somewhat complicated and abstract you may have some difficulties to understand it at first. If it were too difficult you might as well skip it for a while.

The next, I explained the relation of life and Taekwondo. You should get deep understanding of life in order to understand Taekwondo. For it is the internal principle of man's motion, and further more, of a living creature. It's external principle of the motion has nothing different from that of physics. But principles of physics or of physiology alone are not enough to explain man's motion. We should include that of man's spirit that controls motions, in order for full explanation of man's motion. A physicist might be capable of better scientific explanation about running than a runner or his coach. But it is not 'running' itself, but mere physical movement that you see in running. So a sports man can run better and his coach can teach it better than a physicist. What is it that they know better? It is the internal principle of running that they know better. It is why they can explain and control it from inside of mind.

The third is the concept of Samjae. This can be said to be the concrete framework that formalized PPT, and it refers to symbolized meaning of Sky, Earth and Man. The concept of Sky represents forms, comparatively abstract entities, the framework of change and the reality of no shape. That of Earth refers to the materials and matters, comparatively concrete entities, what change itself, so the shaped reality. Sky and Earth are relative to each other, of which the criterion is Man. Here, Man means the will or the intention man has. For an example, if the principle of physics belonged to Sky the matters that moves along it belong to Earth, and to Man the mankind who distinguishes and recognizes them belongs.

The forth is the concept of Yin-Yang. This concept is familiar to oriental people inclusive of Koreans, yet it contains somewhat abstract and different implication originally. Of the various ways we can think of to explain it I want to suggest a simple ad easy some saying of coupled relation of front and back of a thing, or of inclination and declination. If a thing had front side, yin-yang says it also has back side. And if you are climbing a mountain it says you will have to go down it soon. Yin-yang can be said to be such a philosophical concept as enables you to think what you see now with what you cannot see right now, together, i.e. to think the entirety at once. Yin-yang appears as Kang-Yu, Heo-sil, or attack-defense in Taekwondo. So you can see, even if your opponent were strong, it is rather why he has defects, and however important smoothness were in technique, that cannot be complete without hardness. It is not, however, that the concept of yin-yang can be applied to whatever. The essential point of yin-yang is relativity ro difference. It means, it is relative which is yin and which is yang. Therefore, the concept of yin-yang can be meaningful only in the entirety that includes differences, and it can be applied only to the whole stage that changes. What can see name the entirety that includes differences and what changes? Old people named itit "Taegeuk"(Tai-chi).

Here you may ask a question of a thing. The Sky and the Earth mentioned in Samjae refer to different aspects, which is similar to the concept of yin-yang. Then what is the difference between the concepts of Samjae and of yin-yang? Yin-yang is a concept that explains relation of relatively different entities. It is such purely and completely relative concept, so you can apply it to any thing freely with each criterion. Compared to it, the concept of Samjae includes also the criterion, which is foundation of the relativity, with such relative relations as yin-yang. So it has not only Sky and Earth but also Man. While yin-yang has practicality that apprehends relativity of things freely, Samjae has fundamentality that considers the criterion with the relativity. Accordingly, Samjae is more reflective, so more fundamental concept than yin-yang. Therefore, I formalized principles of Taekwondo in the broader framework of Samjae, applying conceptual scheme of yin-yang to more practical and applicable factors in it. And I suggested the entire contents based on <Do> and the foundation of philosophy on life.


<footnotes>

1) The Three Dharma Seals is the metaphysics(it is ontology) of Buddhism about the world. The three seals are composed of three marks of the law; 1> all things are impermanent, 2> all things lack inherent existence(no self), and 3> that nirvana is perfect quiescence.

2) Prajn~aa : The transliteration of the Sanskrit prajn~aa and Pali pan~n~aa, meaning "wisdom," but especially the Buddhist wisdom that is based on a realization of dependent origination, no-self, emptiness, etc. Prajn~aa is the wisdom that is able to extinguish afflictions and bring about enlightenment. (2) Prajn~aa is also the name of an important translator of Sanskrit Buddhist texts into Chinese, his most significant accomplishment being the forty fascicle translation of the Hua-yen ching . (ui 873b) [Responsible] cm



1. What is Taekwondo Philosophy?
2. What is the Philosophical Principle of Taekwondo(PPT)?
3. What are the Relations between Taekwondo Philosophy and Traditional Oriental Philosophy
4. What Concepts of Oriental Philosophy to Explain Taekwondo Philosophy?
5. What Constitutes the Entire Contents of PPT? (Rough Contents)
6. What Are the Basic Theoretical Schemes of Taekwondo Philosophy?
7. What is Taekwondo?