The objective of the martial arts is to develop oneself physically, mentally, and spiritually. In practical ways of life the objective of martial arts is to defend oneself and not attack others. And so one should be at all times ready to apply self-defense techniques in all situations. Crude tactics are a source of serious injuries (to quote a known proverb: "A little learning is a dangerous thing"). Because of this, one may become careless and the results may have life-long consequences in a way of permanent injury. The secret principle of martial arts is not vanquishing the attacker, but resolving to avoid an encounter before it occurs.

The biggest victory for oneself is not being victorious in a hundred fights out of a hundred but resolving the danger by other means, or victory without a fight.

The word "BU" or "BUDO" is written with the Chinese character for "Stop" within a character signifying two crossed halberds, meaning to stop a conflict. Since Tae Kwon Do is BUDO, its meaning should receive a serious consideration, and the fists should not be used needlessly. Youth is an expression of justice and vigor. Vigor is stimulated by martial arts, and if one is following correctly the arts, they will polish the character and make the person worthy for the society and humanity. Force should be used as the last resort, where humanity and justice cannot prevail.

One must have dignity without ferocity. Masters and saints may appear as simpletons. To stand still is to regress. Good behavior and humbleness are among the highest virtues. To quote Mencius: "When heaven is about to confer an important office upon a man, it first embitters his heart in its purpose, it causes him to exert his bones and sinews. It makes his body to suffer, hunger. It inflicts upon him want and poverty, and confounds his undertakings. In this way it stimulates his will, steels his nature and thus makes him capable of accomplishing what he would otherwise be incapable of accomplishing."

If introspection reveals the self to be unjust, then one will be afraid, but if it reveals the self to be just, one will go against all odds, regardless of the difficulties or dangers. As other meanings and truths are revealed to us, so that we should understand ourselves, so our actions change accordingly. A gentleman should be gentle, never menacing, close, yet never forward, he should slay but never humiliate, he should be broad-minded and strong willed. The responsibilities are heavy and the way is long. One should make benevolence his life-long duty. This is our mission. A truly great man is not disturbed when suddenly confronted with an unexpected event or crisis, he is not angered when he finds himself in an aggravating situation which is not of his making. He has a great heart and a high aim.

There are eight (8) important PRECEPTS in martial arts:

  1. The mind is the same with heaven and earth.

  2. The circulatory rhythm of the body is similar to that of the Sun and Moon.

  3. The law includes hardness and softness.

  4. Act in accordance with time and change.

  5. Techniques will emerge when a void is found.

  6. The accurate measure of the appropriate distance requires advancing and retreating, separating and meeting.

  7. The eyes do not miss even the slightest change.

  8. The ears listen well in all directions.

In the words of a master:

"Know thy enemy and know yourself. When one is ignorant of the enemy but knows oneself, the chances of winning or losing are equal. If ignorant of both the enemy and oneself, one is certain to be in peril in every battle. To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the highest skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the highest skill."

To quote Lin Hung-Nien:

"A stone with no water within it is hard. A natural magnet with no water within it is dense. If a body is hard within and dense without, how can it ever be penetrated? If a thing has openings, then it will be filled. If a thing has an inch of cavity, then one inch of water will fill it. One has to listen to hear, to look to see, to seek to find, to experience to understand, to love to be happy."

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Updated on MAY 10, 2016!