The Tao of Taekwondo

Notes and reflections from a deeper practice of traditional taekwondo

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The egoful history of Taekwondo

One of the things that bothers me about the history of Taekwondo is the number of egos and personalities that are associated with its development. As a new martial art, it has been a battle ground between individuals first at the kwan level and later at the world federation level as several strong personalities jockeyed for control over the evolution of the sport.

I love to live in the paradox of being a traditional practitioner of Taekwondo. How can one be a traditional practitioner of a new art form? For me it depends on my approach. I focus on Taekwondo as a personal mastery development tool, working beyond the techniques to use the art as a physical way to develop myself. I learn more about my inner self from practicing than I do about sparring strategy and perfectly executed high kicks.

In fact I would say that my practice of Taekwondo is about as far away as one can get from the politics and egos of the men who at first unified Korean martial arts and then in their squabbling, divided it up again into the myriad of federations and forms that exist now.

For me a key meaning of the tenet of integrity is looking at what the motivations are for instructors and practitioners as well as those who step up to lead the various federations. Why are you doing Taekwondo?