Philosophy of Taekwondo

  • If you know your opponent and know yourself, then in a hundred battles you will always win.
  • If you do not know him, but know yourself, you will win half the time, and lose half the time.
  • If you know neither him nor yourself, you will always lose.
  • Tactics do not survive without strategy
  • With confidence there is no fear, without it, there is no hopeŠ
  • If the marital artist is to succeed, he must create a masterpiece. How this is done is through desire, determination, drive, dedication and discipline.

To the uninitiated, Taekwondo may appear to be an aggressive art. This is an easily understood misconception, since it is a martial art. Its techniques are designed to maim or even kill an opponent, if necessary. Blows with the hands, feet, elbows, even the head, can break bones, boards, roof tiles, and stones. Clearly, this is no peaceful art! Yet is a peaceful art, a paradox expressing the Um and Yang theory of eternal duality, which exists within nature. Taekwondo teaches its practitioner to live in harmony with nature, in oneness with the Earth and the Universe. It helps one develop an acutely sensitive awareness of the aspects and forces of nature.

In human relations. Taekwondo demands sacrifice, self-restraint, kindness, humility, patience, forgiveness, and love of one’s fellow human beings. Like the great religions, Taekwondo teaches you not to cause pain and suffering but to actively prevent them. It is up to you to learn to control a hot temper, for instance, and to develop a reserve that leaves you indifferent to the abuse of others, even though you know you can destroy them if you choose to.

For practitioners of Taekwondo, victory through dishonor is despised. One must fight honorably or be dishonored. The ultimate good lies not in winning a hundred battles but in overcoming a man or an army without a conflict. Taekwondo has been described as a state of mind. It goes far beyond physical speed, strength, and grace. It is a way of life. In its simplest sense, Taekwondo is doing anything perfectly, without ego, and in harmony with the Universe, The goals sought are three:
1) To achieve a concentration of power.
2) To realize one’s own true nature (this is the real meaning of enlightenment).
3) To achieve the realization of the truth of enlightenment in everyday life.

These goals are achieved through meditation, or positive training of the mind. Enlightenment does not come easily. One of Taekwondo’s most important principles is its reverence for all forms of life. The power we learn is awesome, and it carries with it an awesome responsibility, which cannot be taken lightly. Remember, if you harm someone you will have to answer for it – and live with what you have done. Taekwondo’s rule is to use the minimum force necessary to subdue an assailant defeating him with minimum harm to his body. A human being is not a punching board.

You can train yourself into calm detachment and fearlessness in the face of stress, avoiding the obstacles of anxiety, indecision, ambition, and unchecked passion, and replacing them with serenity and self-control. You must concentrate your power, this will give you an incalculable psychological advantage over your opponent.

Students of Taekwondo in Korea are not taught any techniques for the first two weeks. They are made to clean the cold training floor barefooted. This teaches them to respect the school as their home, and it teaches them patience, humility, and sacrifice.

As your learn the true philosophy of Taekwondo, you will find that it helps you, as a black belt, to teach it to others more easily. You will find that the study of Taekwondo is a continuing process in which the master is forever a student. This is a humbling realization, but it is true that only through humility can you hope to achieve understanding.

When you act as a teacher, you will experience pleasure instead of jealousy when you see a student advancing more rapidly than you did when you were at his or her stage. You will gain satisfaction at having imparted the skill and knowledge, which you have learned for a purpose greater than yourself. Humility as a teacher will beget patience and bring you closer to truth, loyalty, dignity, compassion, genuine virtue, and true courage.

If the task seems difficult, remember: once you have started it, it is not so hard. All worthwhile things are as difficult as they are rare.