A beginner's mind



The mentality with which we approach any situation is the most fundamental of all principles. Deep consideration must be given to the fact that all physical actions are ultimately expressions of our mentality at that moment. In very simple terms our underlying mentality guides the formation of cognitive strategies. These cognitive strategies then facilitate the determination of specific behavioural routines or tactics in response to a given situation or environment. These tactics can then be further reduced to the unique and specific behavioural elements or techniques that they contain. Fundamentally then all things start from and flow back to the origin of the driving mentality.


In specific terms of Taekwon-do and the legacy provided by General Choi we are provided guidance within this as to what approach we should take towards the establishment of an ideal moral culture and mental discipline within our Taekwon-do study (jungshin sooyang). It is suggested that "...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." (p.26 Choi 1999).


General Choi further expanded on this aspect of Taekwon-do practice by proposing some key virtues on which to focus our self development as Taekwon-do students. General Choi suggested that there are 5 fundamental virtues provided by heaven (p.27 Choi 1999)

Humanity (in)

Righteousness (Ui)

Propriety (Ye)

Wisdom (Ji)

Trust (Shin)

Having outlined these in detail, General Choi then presents specific strategies for the development of a truly virtuous and noble moral character. (p.29 Choi 1999) Again accompanied with detailed explanations to aid reflection and development, these points included:

*Man may occupy two positions in a life time

*Greed is insatiable

*Be humble

*Self-criticism

*Be soft

*Respect of elders

*Respect the right of others

*Be just

*Be frugal

*Be discreet

*Know true happiness

*Let your actions speak for yourself

*Develop peace of mind

*Be of firm mind

*Be devoted

The aim of this psuedo-confucian guidance is essentially to engage the Taekwon-do student in a mental discipline which aims at creating a deeper understanding of self and our purpose in society. The underlying intention of this is to encourage Taekwon-do students to become valuable, contributing and sincere members of free and peaceful societies. This is essentially in alignment with the confucian values which guide much of the traditional social development across eastern Asia. To further contribute to this General Choi proposed a number of specific activities we could undertake to better develop this type of mental discipline. Specifically he suggested:

*Travel (yo haeng)

*Mountain Climbing (dung san)

*Cold Showers and Bath (naengsoo machal)

*Public Service (sahwe bongsa)