The Way: Traditional Taekwondo Volume A, Philosophy and Tradition. Chapter 1, philosophy.
Posted: February 07, 2021
Drawn to the philosophy of art, I find myself navigating back to this book often. I definitely read it when I was a color belt and have referenced it when young students request more information and are eager to learn. And, luckily, I get to review it again, right before making another commitment to Songahm Taekwondo, Senior Master Instructor.
It's a crazy time. We continue to fight with the corona virus approaching our 12 month of quarantine. The divide of the country also continues to take victims by breaking families, friendships and working relationships.
The book is easy to read. Divided into 9 chapters (no surprise there), it covers:
- Seo-gi ("rise" Stances)
- Chi-gi (strike) and Mahk-gi (block)
- Chah-gi (kicks)
- Poome-sae (form)
- Gyeo-roo-gi (sparring
- Geup-Su (rank) and She-hahp (tournaments)
My favorite part is the philosophy. The chapter leads with, "this is just a grain of sand the sea" compared to the vast amount of knowledge and history that can be found. And, heeds a warning, "philosophy is not always good." There are many marital arts. Songahm is the name of the Taekwondo we practice. The goal is to weave courtesy, humility, justice, friendship amongst others, into the system, pattern and philosophy of Taekwondo.
The word itself wasn't accepted until 1955. Because the Japanese occupied Korea, the marital arts of Korea went underground. After Korea regained its independence a general by the name of Hong Hi Choi began a movement of unifying the styles of training into one body. His goal was to make the art a Korean art. The names being used at the time were Chinese, Tang-soo Do meant empty hand in Chinese. Taekwondo translates to Tae (kick or jump), Kwon (fist or hand) and Do (the way or path). Or, The Way of the Hand and Foot.
Songahm translates to pine-tree and rock. And the journey to black belt parallels a seedlings journey to a mature and mighty pine tree.
The number 3 is significant in the Korean culture.
Many of our forms have multiple of 3# of moves, the Songahm star is 9 feet (3x3) from the center to the tip of the corresponding end point. Nine is the most important number because it is the highest of all the single digits. The Songahm Star has nine points.