What It Means To Be Taekwondoin

        Many people are misguided and view martial arts as some kind of religion. It is not. Taekwondo is not a religion and I do not agree with what others say who claim it is spiritual. To me that is bogus. Taekwondo or any martial art is a physical activity and it improves your body and preserves you from violent attacks. There is nothing spiritual about that. I recommend you go to church and read the Bible and pray to God for spirituality.

When you improve your health through physical activity of course your mind feels better and stress is relieved and a positive feeling comes over you. That is to be expected with ANY physical activity, even playing basketball or another sport.
But the difference is that Taekwondo is a fighting art and gives you confidence that sports do not. It gives you the feeling of being able to protect yourself, be strong and powerful and stand up to aggressors.

Philosophy within Taekwondo is simply that, philosophy. Just ideas and concepts. Yes with any culture there may be a philosophical concept that also has basis in a local religion. For Taekwondo of course Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism have presented philosophical concepts in the art, but that does not mean you are practicing a religion. Taekwondo is a Korean martial art and Korea historically was Shamanism and later Taoism and Buddhism from China influenced them and also Confucianism. You do not have to be a believer or practitioner or such religions to be Taekwondoin. In fact, I wholeheartedly disagree with all of those religions and vehemently dislike Confucianism, but I am still Taekwondoin and the moral concepts from various parts of the religions are good.
There is a moral code in Taekwondo called the 5 tenets. Courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self control, and indomitable spirit. These tenets are trans-religious and can be found any simple morality. They are good things and guide a martial artist, who should be a warrior in his community, to direct them to use their violent power for good and not evil. This should be for any martial art.

Competition is an extra thing and a noble pursuit if you do it for good reasons. Self glorification and ego are the wrong reasons but that is why so many guys fight and wish to be tough. What does it matter in the end if you were a champion in a combat sport or not? Does what you did benefit society? Is what you do beneficial to others and to God? That is what matters.

After you get old will you be able to fight like you once could? Things happen. Accidents, injuries and life situations. Of course being a serious Taekwondoin you MUST be able to fight and know how to. You cannot neglect that. Simply performing movements with n purpose makes no sense. Or if your purpose is simply to impress judges at a poomsae tournament then you are not a real martial artist. You are just a performance artist. Another problem with ego is when people learn a martial art to show off “cool moves” and glorify themselves by showing how many flips and kicks they can do. This is a pointless pursuit as well and is not martial arts. If you can do it on top of actual martial arts then good for you, but it shouldn’t be a goal. I don’t do flips and nether do many great and dangerous fighters. They don’t really have any practical application.

So your goal with martial arts SHOULD be learning how to actually fight well. The second goal is personal health and well being. If you are someone who fights or does a combat sport yet you neglect basic motions and perfection of movement you are also not a martial artist. You are a brawler who also engages in MMA or whatever. The best fighters are the ones who clam down, practice basics over and over, perfect the movement and do the quiet side of martial arts. As a Taekwondo fighter neglecting poomsae is an ignorant thing. Just because you do not understand poomsae does not mean it is worthless. Poomsae is the essence of our Taekwondo movement and only helps your body. When you are old, have injuries and more life situations you will not be spending time competing. What do you have left of Taekwondo? Nothing? Just get fat and sit around? Poomsae is what you have and practical self defense applications. Taekwondo and many other martial arts are things you can do well into old age and become a lifestyle choice. If you do not train your poomsae you do not train in Taekwondo and you are NOT Taekwondoin. I don’t care how many gold medals in Olympic sparring, MMA, or whatever you have.

Likewise, if you ONLY perform poomsae and never so much as hit a pad with force and you do not spar or practice self defense you are also not Taekwondoin! You are a performance artist and dancer. I don’t care what color your belt is or what certificate paper you received with your name and rank on it says.

Taekwondo is a fighting art and for self defense. Taekwondo also brings health to your body. Spirituality is found in Church. Don’t get it mixed up and think about the reasons you even train in martial arts.

Remember, it does not matter if you are the best fighter in the entire world and can dominate every other man you challenge or who challenges you. What does it matter in life? When it’s all said and done you have God to answer to about the meaning and quality of your personal life…

Peace of mind comes from God alone. Figure that out. Taekwondo skills are what matters, not a belt rank, or a fight record. Just practice and improve yourself and worry about yourself and not how others view you or your martial art. Other people dance, swim, play basketball, do gymnastics etc….I do Taekwondo. I train in Taekwondo fighting. I get the benefits that come with that. Others do not and that is fine, that is their choice. But do not get confused on what real martial arts are and what a true martial artist is.

Just do your best people! Give up and just train in the true way for yourself and not others.

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Comments
  1. Dave "HD" Rodriguez says:

    Good article man!! It’s good to know that there are people still trying to rescue the real Taekwondo values, not being a tkd player for tournaments, but a martial artist for life, keep up the good work man!!

  2. Jacob A. says:

    Preach it

  3. tkdmarine says:

    I’m gonna have to disagree with a few of your points, man.

    My first disagreement is that just because something is spiritual, does not make it a religion.

    I meditate, but I am most certainly not a Bhuddist. I honor those who came before me, but I do not believe in reincarnation. I love finding peace in nature, but I am not Wiccan.

    The problem here is that ‘spiritual’ is such a nebulous term. What does it mean? Well, according to Webster: “of, relating to, or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things.”

    However, it can also be: “of or relating to religion or religious belief.”

    The second definition is easy, but an easy understanding is never a full understanding. The first definition makes more sense, but is harder to nail down, because then you have to nail down what “spirit” is.

    As a Christian you believe in a soul, as do most other religions. That is your spirit, but unless you want to talk astral projection, visions, etc., then we do not live in the realm of the spirit. We live in a physical realm.

    And how is your spirit different from your mind? Are your thoughts the whispers of your soul or vice-versa?

    Well, since you are Christian, I have a very good framework to answer these questions from. We are created in the image of God, yes? Then we have an excellent insight into how we ourselves function. As God is Father, Son, Holy Spirit, so we are body, soul, and mind. And as God is three yet one, so are we three yet one.

    The argument of martial arts being a purely physical pursuit is in error, because if things we did with our body were merely physical and had no impact on our spirit, then what would be the point of things being labeled sins? If what I do with my body that is good does not affect my spirit, then surely what I do with my body that is bad does not affect my spirit.

    Is not living a disciplined life using your physical self to affect your mind and spirit? Just like the mind and spirit can push the body further than it would go itself, so too can regimenting what you do with your body enable you to push your mind and spirit to new heights.

    In the Old Testament, men performed mighty deeds of war in the name of Yahweh. Were they not worshipping God with their deeds? Is that the use of the instrument God gave you(your body), praise to him? If adultery, cursing, and doing drugs is sinning against God, then surely the five tenets can be a form of praise to him.

    I’m not submitting that taekwondo is a religion. What I am submitting is that until you don’t have a soul, every choice you make is, in fact, a spiritual choice in some way, shape, or form. I am submitting that a strong, self-disciplined, masculine man is a better Christian than a limp-wristed wimp with no self-control, even if both profess to worship the same God. If this weren’t true, then David would not have been ‘a man after God’s own heart’. God made men to be warriors. When you are not a warrior, you are not living up to what God made you to do.

    • White Dragon says:

      I am not quite sure what exactly you disagree with in what I wrote.

      My point was that Taekwondo itself is not my religion, it does not make me close to God in itself and is a physical persuit that does give health benefits, and relieves stress, sharpens your mind etc.

      By your defenition than going bowling is spiritual as much as Taekwondo. What would the difference be?

      Obviously, whatever religious view you hold is going to be your outlook on life. SO whatever you do on earth would effect how you serve God or serve whatever you believe in. So of course as a Christian my pursuits on earth should honor God in whatever skills God gave me. I don’t disagree with that.

      But Taekwondo is not going to enlighten a person, or answers the deep questions of life and the universe. That is a load of crap. Taekwondo is not my god it is just something I do and I am pretty good at. It is something I enjoy and find meaning in for my life because it helps me protect myself and is a good system for fighting. I agree with what you say a lot but you seem to misunderstand my point.

      Thanks for reading.

    • White Dragon says:

      In my opinion videos like this are a load of crap and give a false impression of what you will do with Taewondo and what Korea is like. Anyone who has lived there or trained there will never experience anything like this at all. It is propaganda and stupid. People would be better making videos on why Taekwondo is a good physical activity and self defense system. Not this “It will answer your deep void in your life and give you englightenment and truth!!” I mean come on.

    • White Dragon says:

      I also must say that I have no problem taking aout “spirit” as in the attitude or concept of something. The SPirit of Taekwondo is something, but it is not the same as “ultimate meaning and enlightenment” in my opinion. The spirit if Taekwondo is Mudo, or warrior art and the attitude that comes with it. Yes you have to have a strong spirit and mental toughness etc. That is another issue.

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