Theory of Power (Him Ui Wolli)

The beginning student may ask; “Where does one obtain the power to create the devastating results attributed to Taekwon-Do?” This power is attributed to the utilization of a personas full potential through the mathematical application of Taekwon-Do techniques. The average person uses only 10 to 20 percent of his potential. Anyone, regardless of size, age, or sex who can condition himself to use 100 percent of his potential can also perform the same destructive techniques.
Though training will certainly result in a superb level of physical fitness, it will not necessarily result in the acquisition of extraordinary stamina or superhuman strength. More important, Taekwon-Do training will result in obtaining a high level of reaction force, concentration, equilibrium, breath control and speed; these are the factors that will result in a high degree of physical power.



"Powerful enough to uproot mountains"



According to Newton's Law, every force has as equal and opposite force. When an automobile crashes into a wall with the force of 2,000 pounds, the wall will return a force of 2,000 pounds; or forcing the end of the seesaw down with a ton of weight will provide an upward force of the same weight; if your opponent is rushing towards you at a high speed, by the slightest blow at his head, the force with which you strike his head would be that of his own onslaught plus that of your blow.
The two forces combined; his, which is large, and yours, which is small is quite impressive. Another reaction force is your own. A punch with the right fist is aided by pulling back the left fist to the hip.


By applying the impact force onto the smallest target area, it will concentrate the force and therefore, increase its effect. For example, the force of water coming out of a water hose is greater if the orifice is smaller. Conversely, the weight of a man spread out on snow shoes makes hardly any impression on the snow. The blows in Taekwon-Do are often concentrated onto the edge of the open palm or to the crook of the fingers.
It is very important that you should not unleash all your strength at the beginning but gradually, and particularly at the point of contact with your opponent's body, the force must be so concentrated as to give a knock-out blow. That is to say, the shorter the time for the concentration, the greater will be the power of the blow. The utmost concentration is required in order to mobilize every muscle of the body onto the smallest target area simultaneously.
In conclusion, concentration is done in two ways: one is to concentrate every muscle of the body, particularly the bigger muscles around the hip and abdomen (which theoretically are slower than the smaller muscles of other parts of the body) towards the appropriate tool to be used at the proper time; the second way is to concentrate such mobilized muscles onto the opponent's vital spot. This is the reason why the hip and abdomen are jerked slightly before the hands and feet in any action, whether it be attack or defense. Remember, jerking can be executed in two ways: laterally and vertically.

Small Outlet vs. Large Outlet


Balance is of utmost importance in any type of athletics. In Taekwon-Do, it deserves special consideration. By keeping the body always in equilibrium, that is, well balanced, a blow is more effective and deadly. Conversely, the unbalanced one is easily toppled. The stance should always be stable yet flexible, for both offensive and defensive movements.
Equilibrium is classified into both dynamic and static stability. They are so closely inter-related that the maximum force can only be produced when the static stability is maintained through dynamic stability.
To maintain good equilibrium, the center of gravity of the stance must fall on a straight line midway between both legs when the body weight is distributed equally on both legs, or in the center of the foot if it is necessary to concentrate the bulk of body weight on one foot. The center of gravity can be adjusted according to body weight. Flexibility and knee spring are also important in maintaining balance for both a quick attack and instant recovery. One additional point; the heel of the rear foot should never be off the ground at the point of impact. This is not only necessary for good balance but also to produce maximum power at the point of impact.


Controlled breathing not only affects one's stamina and speed but can also condition a body to receive a blow and augment the power of a blow directed against an opponent. Through practice, breath stopped in the state of exhaling at the critical moment when a blow is landed against a pressure point on the body can prevent a loss of consciousness and stifle pain. A sharp exhaling of breath at the moment of impact and stopping the breath during the execution of a movement tense the abdomen to concentrate maximum effort on the delivery of the motion, while a slow inhaling helps the preparation of the next movement. An important rule to remember; Never inhale while focusing a block or blow against an opponent. Not only will this impede movement but it will also result in a loss of power.
Students should also practice disguised breathing to conceal any outward signs of fatigue. An experienced fighter will certainly press an attack when he realizes his opponent is on the point of exhaustion. One breath is required for one movement with the exception of a continuous motion.

MASS (Zilyang)

Mathematically, the maximum kinetic energy or force is obtained from maximum body weight and speed and it is all important that the body weight be increased during the execution of a blow. No doubt the maximum body weight is applied with the motion of turning the hip. The large abdominal muscles are twisted to provide additional body momentum. Thus the hip rotates in the same direction as that of the attacking or blocking tool. Another way of increasing body weight is the utilization of a springing action of the knee joint. This is achieved by slightly raising the hip at the beginning of the motion and lowering the hip at the moment of impact to drop the body weight into the motion.
In summarizing, it is necessary to point out that the principles of force outlined here hold just as true today in our modern scientific and nuclear age as they did centuries ago.
I am sure that when you go through this art, both in theory and in practice, you will find that the scientific basis of the motions and the real power which comes out a small human body cannot fail to impress you.

SPEED (Sokdo)

Speed is the most essential factor of force or power. Scientifically, force equals mass multiplied by acceleration (F = MA) or (P = MV2).
According to the theory of kinetic energy, every object increases its weight as well as speed in a downward movement. This very principle is applied to this particular art of self-defense. For this reason, at the moment of impact, the position of the hand normally becomes lower than the shoulder and the foot lower than the hip while the body is in the air.
Reaction force, breathing control, equilibrium, concentration, and relaxation of the muscles cannot be ignored. However, these are the factors that contribute to the speed and all these factors, together with flexible and rhythmic movements, must be well coordinated to produce the maximum power in Taekwon-Do.

Impact of large rock vs. small rock


Moral Culture (Jungshin Sooyang)

The broad connotations and various possible interpretations of the moral culture are often very difficult for the western mind to grasp because this is an aspect of Oriental Philosophy which pervades the lives of Oriental people. In a word, it is the endeavor and process of becoming an exemplary person such as Confucius (552-479 AD).

To become such a person, one has to first find himself and acquire a moral character which is respected by all. This can only be achieved through constant practice of mental discipline. Thus, if the times call for it, the mentally disciplined man can contribute to the building of an ideal society through wise counsel to the government and, even after death, through his everlasting examples.

Confucius said, "to promote the sense of morality one must treat others with faithfulness and sincerity based on righteousness, and to eliminate completely vicious thinking".

Moral Culture


Everyone of us, as a social being, desires to live in a free and peaceful society. At the same time, it is our obligation to build such a society for the people.

I have quoted various words of wisdom of ancient saints and philosophers for creating an ideal society in the hope that students of Taekwon-Do use them as a guide to cultivating their moral culture.

An ideal society, according to LAO-TZU, is one in which the ruler is of such high moral character that he can rule naturally, not by interference or fear but by appealing to the good nature of his people, who by merely doing their duty can live freely in peace without fear and anxiety.

Next, a moral society is one in which the people admire and praise their ruler in gratitude for his love and the benign disposition he bears toward his people.

Thirdly there is a "legalistic society in which the ruler because he lacks the moral authority resorts to various laws to govern his people, who in turn obey because they fear the retribution that the violation of these laws will bring. Under these circumstances, the ruler loses touch with his people.

Finally the worst kind of society is that in which the ruler, through deception and trickery, misuses his legal authority to further his personal ambitions and imposes his rule upon his people by force as he deems necessary. In such a society, the ruler is despised and hated by his people and eventually invites not only his own downfall but with him the downfall of the people and the country.

In Taekwon-Do a heavy emphasis is placed on moral culture, for it not only promotes a healthy body and keen mind but good sportsmanship and the perfection of moral behavior. As ancient Greeks first espoused in their sound mind, sound body, creative spirit concept, the more disciplined and cultivated the mind is, the more disciplined and cultivated will be the student's use of Taekwon-Do.

No doubt the following lessons may be somewhat hard to fully understand; however, it would behoove the serious student of Taekwon-Do to read, digest, and attempt to grasp these very fundamental essences of moral culture.

A. Return to the basic nature- Mencius gave the following analogy when he reasoned that a man is basically good.
Even a ruthless robber, coming upon an innocent child about to fall into a well, will try to save the child, forgetting for moment, his intention to rob the house. This good nature becomes obscured or completely lost by greed for money and power.

B. Be virtuous- It is difficult to define what virtue is. However, these are five human qualities which have been recognized as virtues since ancient times; humanity, righteousness, courtesy, wisdom, and trust. To be virtuous one must constantly cultivate and practice these virtues.

Confucius said,
"Virtue is like the North Star. All the stars revolve around it in an orderly fashion."
Therefore, people who surround the virtuous person, naturally will act for the betterment of society.

The ability to feel sorrow for the misfortunes of fellow men and love them all equally as parents love their children equally.
Confucius defined humanity in the following ways:

A. To love people, especially one's parents.
B. Not asking others to do what you would rather not do.
C. To behave with the nature of propriety by controlling on oneself.
D. To have unbending desire to accomplish what is right regardless of how insignificant, the result may initially seem when compared to the amount of effort put forth.
E. To value others' honor before your own.
F. To put others' freedom, before your own.

To implement humanity he said one should:

1) Practice utmost prudence, modesty and discretion in everyday life.
2) Devote oneself to assigned work be it large or small.
3) Demonstrate sincerity with whole heartedness to others at all times.

Tae Kong Mang (12th century BC) said:
"The heaven provides us four seasons while the earth has the power to produce all living things. This privilege is not reserved for any specific person but for all human beings... Therefore, humanity lies in the idea of sharing the fruits of nature with all people."

The ability to feel ashamed of unjust acts and to do one's duty to others. Mencius said; "for the ordinary person life and death are the most important in the life. However, for virtuous person to and live and die for righteousness is far more important than life and death themselves."

Righteousness is well defined in the act of a certain army general depicted in the book of "War Manuel" written about 2,400 years ago.

A General was taking a break from the grueling war with his soldiers by a river bank when an aide brought him a small carafe of wine for his refreshment. He took the carafe and slowly emptied it into the flowing river in full view of the puzzled soldiers and invited them to share the wine with him by taking a sip of the water from the river.

Unlike animals fighting over food, a courteous man would offer another man a piece of bread even though both we re starving, out of respect and good manners.

Confucius said,
"propriety must be practiced for the proper development of personality, and whoever lacks sincerity in his words, cannot be considered a gentleman."

He also said:
"Frankness without courtesy can be rather ruthless."
"Respectfulness without courtesy can make the recipient rather uncomfortable."
"Courageousness without courtesy can be rather Violent."

The ability to judge right from wrong, not especially in matters concerning the right and wrong of others but in matters concerning oneself.

A wise man (Yu Bee) once said to his sons, "no matter how small it is you should not do what you realize is wrong. On the other hand you must do what is right no matter how small it may seem."

The ability to keep one's words and promises, not only to one's friends but to everyone in general. Without trust a person loses all principles and dignities and becomes a liar and a cheater.


How, then, can man discover his own human nature?

There are two ways by which a person can find himself; first, by preserving the goodness given to him by God or heaven at birth, and secondly by renouncing greed for material things.

A. Man may occupy two positions in a life time

Basically there are two kinds of position; one is the live virtues given by heaven, explained earlier, and the other given by man, such as a cabinet minister, bureau chief, and so on.

Unfortunately man often relies too much on worldly position which is transient at best, for what man gives can also be taken away. On the other hand, what heaven endows us with is eternal. This is not to say that we reject all worldly things but rather that we keep both positions in proper balance so that the virtues of the former position provides guidance for the proper use of the latter.

In this manner a man will gain respect and set good examples for others to follow. Without proper guidance, a person can easily fall victim, to the temptations of personal power and wealth, employing unethical means to further his ambitions. Ultimately such a person will become a tyrant, or a dictator and an enemy of the people.

According to Confucius, a generous and loving man cannot have enemies. Therefore, humanity, the first virtue, is like a strong secure fortress.

Generous person has no enemy.

B. Greed is Insatiable

He who is content with what he has is the richest man in the world. On the other hand, if one has everything and still more, he may yet be poor. A man who is blinded by greed is not only given to corruption, intrigue and exploitation of others, but worst of all, he casts himself in the position of "friend fighting against friend, father fighting against son," finally becoming no better than an animal.

There is certain truth in the old saying that a truly good person cannot be rich, and a rich person cannot be a truly good person.

According to an ancient adage, "constant material dissatisfaction is considered to be the root of all misfortunes." There is no better way to self satisfaction and human growth than the constant development of a generous nature.

Lofty virtue is like a deep valley.

C. Be humble

A weed holds up its head in arrogance while a mature grain bows its head in humility. Lao-Tzu taught that lofty virtue is like a deep valley into which all streams of water flow. A virtuous man will draw the respect of others toward him in the same fashion while one who is selfish and egotistic will lose the respect of his fellow man and become despised and isolated.

To be humble is not to engage in petty squabbles, but to be like the magnamous river in the low valley which irrigates the farm fields around it.

D. Self-criticism

No one is wise from the moment of birth. As human beings we have many faults and are prone to make mistakes. However, once having acquired knowledge we learn to correct these shortcomings.

It would not be impossible to eventually become perfect human beings. For this purpose, it is essential not to be idyllic towards learning and continue to be willing to criticize oneself.

It is said that Confucius and his pupils practiced self-criticism by repeating the following three times daily:
1) Have I neglected others' requests because of selfishness
2) Have I behaved with a sincere attitude towards friends
3) Have I inspired others with certainty, while being uncertain myself
4) Have I neglected to practice virtue
5) Have I erred in my studies
6) Have I avoided acting with righteousness
7) Have I corrected myself immediately upon realizing my fault

E. Be Soft

Because light is formless and soft, it can illuminate and give warmth to even hidden corners. As water can assume any shape or form, it can better serve the living things that need to survive. Once water becomes a part of the ocean, even the largest ship is like a mere leaf, and its awesome fury when aroused can conquer the tallest mountain.

If one claims to be strong, he will soon meet someone who is stronger. A tree, such as a sapling, can withstand a strong wind when it is soft and flexible but may be toppled or broken after it becomes old and brittle. The same principle also applies to human beings.

F. Respect of elders

As son respects parents, younger brother respects older brother, man must always respect his elders or seniors. This is the beauty of mankind, and one of the distinctions between human and animal.

Mencius said there are three things of value in human society: position, honor and moral integrity. In government, position is considered important, in a community, honor, and for a leader or advisor, moral integrity. Indeed, there can be no children without parents, nor a young generation without the old generation. A society and a nation could not avoid chaos without its culture and social order being based on respect for the knowledge and wisdom of its elders.

G. Respect the rights of others

To criticize someone who is better, to covet other's possessions and to steal the merits of others are the marks of an unscrupulous man. Mother Nature does make claims to her domain, yet all creatures within it acknowledge her eternal accomplishments. To help others develop and succeed in life is a reward in itself and has a true value only if nothing is expected in return.

Throughout human history, people who in jealousy have stolen the recognition due to others and have stolen their possessions out of avarice have always left dark imprints of shame and dishonor.

H. Be just

To be correct and forthright is to live one's life correctly. Old sages used to say; "To common men, life is most valuable, and death, most fearful" However, a righteous man would value justice above life itself and would be willing to die rather than submit to injustice. Such notable figures as Baek-E- Sook-Je of China, Sung-Sam-Moon of Korea and Yoshida-Shoing of Japan all chose death in defiance of injustice leaving to their posterity lasting examples.

Baek-E-Sook-Je lived in Chou period about 2,000 BC. When King Moo toppled the twenty-seventh King, who was a very notorious tyrant, he refused to serve the new King, who usurped the throne by force and not by legitimate process; he eventually starved to death in a self -imposed exile in the Sooyang mountains.

Sung-Sam-Moon was an important minister of the King Se Jong, inventor of Han-Gul (Korean alphabet) in the 14th century. After the king died and the young Dan Jong became king his uncle Se-Jo conspired against the boy king and took over the throne. Minister Sung was later executed because of his persistent protest over the unlawful act of King Se-Jo. Yoshida-Shoing, one of the loyalists was also executed in protest when the Doku-Kawa military government, at the time, tried to abolish the Mei-Ji monarchy.

I. Be frugal

Since ancient times, excessive luxury and pleasure caused the downfall of many kings and nations without exception and history is full of such examples. Persons in leadership in particular must learn to be frugal and live moderately. As the old adage goes "if the water is muddy upstream so it will be downstream."

An extravagant leader will affect his subordinates in this same way and will bring more hardship to his subjects through increased taxation and bribery. During the Lee Dynasty of Korea, the king's roving inspector, Lee-Mong-Yong, while traveling the countryside incognito, was invited to one of the lavish dinner parties of a notorious governor. In the middle of the feast he recited his famous poem:

The sweet wine you drink from the glittering cups
Flows from the tears of people who toil
The tender meat which fills the dishes of jades is torn from
their aching flesh
Merrier you laugh, sadder they will weep
Louder you sing, more plaintive
their lament.

The governor and his cohorts recognizing the true identity of the poet, became frightened and fled from the scene. Remember that there are tears and heartaches of many behind one man's pleasure.

J. Be discreet

In every thing he does, a person must not be impulsive or reckless but be patient and thoughtful. "He who acts without thinking at least three times, will later regret his action," warns an old proverb.

Accordingly, on a matter of an important appointment or punishment, one must not decide hastily but must deliberate to reach a decision that is both fair and objective.


Educate the young to produce heroic leaders.

K. Know true happiness

Lao-Tzu pointed out that nature was based upon harmony contrasts. For example, the universe was made up of two forces, Yin (female) and Yang (male). Other contrasts were hard and soft, long and short, night and day, solid and empty, cold and warm, big small, beautiful and ugly.

All things in this world are relative to one another. Misery can only come from having been happy once and sorrow from joy. The wealthy and the powerful are not necessarily happy. For every rich person, there are countless poor and for each tyrant, a nation of oppressed. Mencius defined life's three happinesses as follows:

  1. Healthy parents and harmony within the family.
  2. To live with pride and honor through correct behavior.
  3. To educate the young to become upright and useful members of society.

L. Let your actions speak for yourself.

Even the ablest orator is apt to err if given to verbiage. A closed mouth can save fish from the hook as well as stay secrets from the enemy. To speak only what is meaningful is a sign of a cultivated person. People talk mostly to brag about themselves or to gain advantage over others.

A man of virtue expresses himself more through deeds than words. Thus, he influences others through living examples. In the old days, the truly effective way to teach was believed to be by the actions not by the words of the teacher.


Movement in tranquility.

M. Develop peace of mind

A clear pond becomes muddy if agitated and then returns to its original state when allowed to settle undisturbed.

It is said that calm will be able to conquer the heat. Undoubtedly you can endure the hottest summer heat if you sit calm and composed. Conversely, if you move too much in order to warm your freezing body you may get temporary relief, but it does not last too long.

We can attain peace of mind through meditation, by emptying our minds of all petty thoughts and returning to the natural state of man. Unlike in Buddhism or Zen, meditation in Taekwon-Do does not mean a total divorce from the world, like a dead body, but rather an active moment to reflect on our past mistakes in silence and in the privacy of our thoughts, and through penitence, to continue our self-improvement toward becoming better men and women.

This active thought process in silence is called "Jung-Joong-Dong."

Broad and deep Ki (spirit)

N. Be firm of mind

A person of strong conviction is unsuspicious and unafraid. When proved wrong, he has the moral strength to admit his mistakes to even the most humble and has the courage to stand up to the mighty if he believes himself or herself to be right.

Strong conviction can be gained through the broad and deep "Ki"-spirit. Ki is a form of active energy which fills every physical cell and organ while "Chi"-will is the motivating force: the former moves the latter leads. If "Ki" is nurtured with great care and allowed to grow based on humanity and justice, its soaring power and outreaching strength can fill the heaven and earth, enabling man to reach a new height of great achievements, so Mencius exhorted his disciples.

On a more practical level "Ki" helps us to keep our minds clear and alert when the affairs of life become strained and confused, or sees us through sleepless nights when our loved one is gravely ill.

O. Be devoted

As meditation is to the religious, concentration and devotion is to the artist, and perseverance is to the laborer, so is moral culture to the practitioner of the martial arts. In other words a person's unflinching dedication to his own interest and duty is the source of life and power. Cultivation of mind, therefore, is no monopoly of any particular person.

In fact the sincerity and effort definitely produce the belief and the belief makes one able to reach the final goal.

Moral culture is considered to be a cultivating movement to make one devote oneself to his work, whatever it might be, until his life and work become one.



In summary, we can enjoy a greater freedom of action by preserving our basic nature while making ourselves impervious to the temptation of power, money and sex. A person who has attained this stage of self-cultivation is sometimes called a "Saint."

It must indeed seem like an impossible undertaking to a mere mortal. A mountain crossing begins with a single bold step and an ocean begins with each small stream.

As ancient proverbs say; "Where there is a will there is a way." "One should not look afar, when the way is right in front of you." "Even heaven can be moved if one devotes himself to his cause."

With a strong will and firm determination, it is within the reach of anyone who is willing to make the effort.

Way is right in front of you.

Absolute sincerity moves the heavens.

This moral culture is uniquely tied in with Taekwon-Do, not only for the eventual attainment of the highest goals in Taekwon-Do and the promotion of power, technique, and self-confidence, but also for the cultivation of character. Without this, the instructor would be guilty of imparting a devastating force to those who could eventually become so enamored of their newly found techniques they might very easily become bullies or use this knowledge as a means to achieve their personal ambitions.

Most Taekwon-Do masters and instructors are more apt to put emphasis on this aspect of training rather than some of the more sensational training guides of running over rocky seashores, beating the fists against pebbles or thrusting them into boiling water, attempting to stop a bird in mid-flight, and so forth.

Whole life is devoted to Taekwon-Do.


There are also a number of obligations the serious student must fulfill, and the following steps have been taken by each Taekwon-Do school under the International Taekwon-Do Federation to maintain the high standards of instructors and students.

  1. A close scrutiny must be made of the mental makeup and background of applicants before their admission to the do jang or school.
  2. Orientation to patriotism, obedience, behavior, practices, discipline, and humility must be undertaken.
  3. Personal morals, sincerity, as well as techniques should be taken into consideration upon awarding higher ranks.
  4. Higher ranks who are found fighting should be punished by the local Taekwon-Do Association.
  5. All black belts must register with the local Taekwon-Do Association and International Taekwon-Do Federation.

During training the student should constantly develop mental and physical discipline, and the following activities should be considered an integral part of training.


Patriotism can be gained by travelling to noted or historical areas. An American student once remarked after visiting Gettysburg and the site of General Pickett's famous charge: "The fighting spirit and courage they possessed to attempt to conquer and unconquerable position must have come from a loyalty all officers would like to achieve." Students should seek out there monuments, study and attempt to learn from them.


This form of exercise not only develops important leg muscles, but also nourishes the spirit and promotes a feeling of victory and triumph, as illustrated in the well known Korean poem; "No matter how high the mountain is, it can be compared to a small tomb under the heaven. There is no reason why man cannot succeed if he desires to climb it. All too often, however, one claims it is too high to climb without even making an attempt.


By taking cold showers and baths or exercising on snow-covered ground in bare feet, students build tenacity and pride.


By contributing labor to the community, especially to the poor or disabled, the student learns charity, humility, comradeship, tolerance, and the sense of etiquette.


A high degree of etiquette should be observed by students, both inside and outside do jang. This should be applied by lower ranking students to senior students while training, by higher ranking students to elder students outside of the training hall ( do jang ), and by all students when visiting another do jang. In all cases, emphasis should be placed on correct and proper salutation. It is a form of respect and courtesy in Western as well as Oriental societies.

It is indeed poor taste for a black belt to slight a beginning white belt who might very well be the instructor's senior in both age and station. Students visiting other do jangs, whether they be Taekwon-Do or other martial arts, must pay proper respect and observe the traits of modesty and courtesy at all times.

Man should attempt to dwell in the largest mansion in the world, stand on the correct place and walk on the broadest street.
(Man's most comfortable and secure dwelling is his own virtuous mind. He should always stand on the side of justice and live honestly and fairly).