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DATE : 17-08-22 06:02
Sun (Zen) and the Tae Kwon Doists
 WRITER : usmai
HIT : 94  
Sun (Zen) and the Tae Kwon Doists


As a Tae Kwon Do master says, "Tae Kwon Do is Sun . Many Tae Kwon Doists fail to recognize the important relationship between Sun and Tae Kwon Do. Others, realizing the essential connection between Sun and Tae Kwon Do, feel lost in their quest to understand Sun, thinking it an immensely difficult subject. One often heais that Sun is a way of life, a path to enlightenment yet it persistently presents paradoxes to the uninitiated. Sun is simultaneously called the "religion of immediate reality and "a quest for nothingness. Even more perplexing for those of us engaging in Tae Kwon Do is the claim that Sun masters achieve a state of impassivity, a state which on the surface to contradict Tae Kwon Do's more physical, active practice. What is mooshin (emptyness or nothingness) and how do Tae Kwon Do and Sun come together as one?

Sun is a process philosophy, meaning that those who practice it see the world as constantly changing, that what we now are endures only for an instant. In the face of this extreme sense of change, nothingness is an attitude toward existence, not the denial of existence. Nothingness constitutes a state of detachment from the fears and desires for objects in the world which inevitably disappear or change.

The practice of Tae Kwon Do has been inextricably tied to Sun since, its inception. Bodhidharma, the Indian Buddhist monk who brought the martial arts to China, came to teach Sun until somewhat recent times the martial arts were considered one of several methods of Sun practice, e.g. one suited to the Hwarang warrior class

Today Tae Kwon Do's widespread practice has often caused it to lose the meaning of Sun in favor of the notion that Tae Kwon Do is merely a group of physical skills. Nothing could be further from the truth. Understanding Sun is understanding Tae Kwon Do; the Tae Kwon Doist's self-perfection cannot occur without Sun.

Sun is not a theoretical discipline, although there are many Sun texts, the essence of Sun is found in its practice, not through reading books about it. The greatest obstacle to understanding Sun is conceptualization. In the Sun of Tae Kwon Do, one learns with the body. Sun practice emphasizes concentration without reflection. This explains the use of paradoxes by some Sun teachers. Concentration on a paradox, containing an apparent contradiction, i.e. "the sound of one hand clapping ultimately frees one from the need to consciously attach thought to objects. One does that by "casting away his attachment to dualism , the endless wheel of birth and death. The mind becomes a mirror, passing to a plane beyond intellect. Tae Kwon Do's emphasis on action without conscious desire or thought, on intuition and concentration, aid our achievements in Sun and Tae Kwon Do. The Sun character of - Tae Kwon Do creates situations which greatly enhance technical ability and the unique artistic nature of Tae Kwon Do.

Constant practice in Tae Kwon Do, denying distraction, leads to spiritual unity and freedom from the problems of ego. As one continues to practice Tae Kwon Do, he first gains a strong (sometimes painful) physical awareness. Gradually he develops control of his body. He develops skill in Tae Kwon Do techniques. Soon he is able to reassess and change body requiiements and reactions. Special breathing techniques are especially suited to this role for they allow ~ne to calm the spirit even in the midst of intense physical activity. Finally, if one strives long enough for perfection in Tae Kwon Do he experiences the quieting of distracting consciousness and experiences the unity of Sun and Tae Kwon Do.

The Sun state of illumination and the perfection of Tae Kwon Do are one in the same. One achieves a relaxed awareness a feeling of inner peace. This is often called - "seeing one's original face, for in the perfection of Tae Kwon Do one conquers the self and recognizes the essential unity of mind, body and spirit.

The Sun of the Hwarang is not an easy path. Concentration on physical and potentially violent practice calls for the I-Iwarang virtues of austerity, humility, courage and self denial. Yet Tae Kwon Do practice can give one strength and self- confidence, providing him with the path to self discovery which is both Tae Kwon - Do and Sun. Tae Kwon Do which denies Sun is merely a limited self defense course, I not the Tae Kwon Do which polishes the spirit. Only those who attend to the Sun character of Tae Kwon Do can hope to achieve the mastery which makes it an art and not just an assortment of techniques. One who concentrates merely on techniques may gain a proficiency in Tae Kwon Do, yet he never approaches art.