Pride and Obedience Through Tae Kwon Do
And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all... Mark 10:44
Taekwondo has already settled in this land for half a century. As Taekwondo has become globalized, there have been many changes. Even now, it is divided into traditional Taekwondo and sports Taekwondo. But there is a fast-changing trend in Taekwondo practitioners, such as age and training time. However, the passion for mental culture and personal education, which is the basis of Taekwondo in Korea, remains unchanged.
There is a tendency for most trainees to be younger than adults because the age group has changed a lot in trainees. But, ultimately, the purpose of training in Taekwondo cannot be changed. Rather, it is a child’s dream of the adult’s future dream, so the key is to practice more authentic and traditional Taekwondo.
In order to successfully live a life preparing for a more difficult future than competing in the Olympic Games (which is the symbol of sports Taekwondo) life should be preparing young children through personal education, not just physical. In reality, however, the shape of our lives is rapidly changing from day to day. Above all, we dislike hateful physical activities and may try to avoid deep thoughts, seeking to be physically friendly, comfortable, and always seeking new and stimulating activities.
In today’s world we think, “I want to draw attention to others rather than seeking the truth about myself, and I am living in an era when I am more interested in surroundings that make me more abnormal rather than normal.”
Taekwondo is a training in physical and mental suffering that develops the power and ability to overcome these mental obstacles. Through hard training and through endless fighting with self, the dark and negative thoughts deeply hidden in the mind are drawn. A new self develops in the struggle with the subconscious mind hidden in its inner darkness rather than the self-defense of my flesh coming from the outer struggle. Love of self will eventually develop through love for others.
I will take off my shoes with a new attitude, take off my old self, and start Taekwondo with new clothes and a new mind with determination. Taekwondo is not a general sport. It is not a self-defense which defends only the body. Moreover, it is not leisure time and it is not game play that children enjoy. It is not the playground for anyone of any age. Taekwondo is not entertainment for the public to see and be amused.
Taekwondo also has risk factors. And the risk factors are not the physical risks that may come during the training, but the internal problems coming from the mental. The strength and power of physical training and the self-esteem that comes from spiritual courage are rather prone to self-boasting or pride, especially those who are weak in spiritual training. When one only builds pride in the physical ability and strength, it is hard to control and eventually harms others.
Physically weak and inactive people, through the practice of Taekwondo agility, balance, and endurance, can improve their condition. But, not only physically. They acquire greater mental acuity and confidence with their new skills. Unfortunately, it often turns this newfound ability into arrogance and pride. The feeling of superiority that can occur when a person finds this new type of strength leads to less humbleness. This leads to a grandiose attitude of self-righteousness, similar to the Pharisees in the Bible.
Thus, the more senior a student becomes the more likely that these symptoms will occur. In fact, higher ranking Black Belts are prone to exhibit this pride and arrogance the higher in rank that they go. And this phenomenon may lead to the idolization of oneself.
In 1 Samuel 15:22, the Bible tells us that "obedience is better than sacrifice." The first time we sinned against God was because Adam and Eve were proud of disobedience to God's Word, wanting to be like God. As a matter of fact, the Bible has 132 verses about pride. As Taekwondo training increases physical strength and abilities and mental courage, we must become more and more humble. Rather than the first emphasis being on pride, we should seek to stress strict discipline through self-control.
In Luke 14:11, it is written, "He who exalts himself shall be low, and he that humbles himself shall be elevated." Thus, there are more strict rules in Taekwondo doctrine than anywhere else, and this discipline is not for controlling trainees. It is a training for ourselves to be modest by controlling arrogance through practicing temperance, always bowing with respect, and always using the respectful language, "Yes Sir."
In Taekwondo, our poom sae, what we call forms, are the Taekwondo “seed” and they symbolize everything important in Taekwondo. That is because it is a fight against self, unlike a free sparring fight when you fight against another. It is a sign of the ability to be more humble, tolerant, and able to love everyone with a broader mind rather than to be higher than others.
It is a sign and symbol that you can sacrifice yourself and give yourself to others for the sake of others. So, it is a new beginning and a “Fruit of Taekwondo Seed.” The ultimate goal in Taekwondo training is not fighting. It is a spiritual battle to learn love through fighting with one's own self and eventually accepting God as our Savior in our life when He died on the cross for us because of His Great Love. So, being the best unit of Taekwondo, cannot be greater than 9th Dan. Why is there no 10th Dan? We are not God, still we are sinners. The only purpose of the training of Taekwondo is love. It is the training to the spiritual through the physical training, through the suffering, through the physical body, and the mental training.
Finally, it is my mission that, through Taekwondo, we will realize love and truth and hope to become a channel to accept Jesus as our Savior in our lives.