The Eight Key Concepts of Tang Soo Do
Yong Gi ~ Courage
Chung Shin Tong Il ~ Concentration
In Neh ~ Endurance
Chung Jik ~ Honesty
Kyum Son ~ Humility
Him Cho Chung ~ Control of Power
Shin Chook ~ Muscular Tension & Relaxation
Wan Gup ~ Control of Speed
The Eight Key Concepts (along with the Ten Articles of Faith—discussed in the next section) are as important to Tang Soo Do as the fighting techniques you will learn.
A Tang Soo Do warrior should be characterized by honor and integrity.
These concepts have both a physical and a “spiritual” application. They go to the heart of what it means to have character.
For example, Courage doesn’t mean that you are never afraid. Rather, it means that you have learned to face your fears, to do what needs to be done in spite of being afraid.
Concentration (or focus) is the ability to shut out all distractions in order to focus on what is most important at that moment.
Endurance is more than the ability to do a lot of repetitions of an exercise. It is the internal strength that allows you to go beyond what you think you’re capable of - to excel.
Honesty is a character trait often absent in today’s society. The commitment to always speak the truth, to take responsibility for your own behavior, is the heart of a Tang Soo Do practitioner.
Humility is a concept that is often misunderstood. Humility or meekness is not JUST the absence of boasting or bragging. And it’s certainly NOT having a poor opinion of yourself. Rather, true humility is getting your focus off yourself altogether. Only someone who truly knows their own worth is able to be humble.
Control Of Power certainly has direct application to your training; partner safety is always “Rule Number One”. But controlling your power also goes much deeper. It’s the understanding of how much force is required in any given situation. It means that...
you will not injure when controlling will suffice,
that you will not wound when injuring will suffice,
and that you will not kill when wounding will suffice.*
The concept of Muscular Tension and Relaxation applies to all our movements. Movement should appear effortless. We do not waste energy on tension during movement. Only at the point of extension, of contact with your opponent, does your body experience tension.
But this concept of not wasting energy can also be applied to life. Worry and anxiety are both forms of tension. A true martial artist doesn’t waste energy worrying about things that may never happen.
Don’t be anxious about the future. Live today. It’s the only day you’re assured of.
At first glance, Control Of Speed seems to be simply a physical concept. We want to know what the optimum speed is to counter an opponent’s attack. In practicing techniques, forms, and combination sets, we need to work on group timing.
But here, again, we can apply this principle to daily life. Life can easily become filled with commotion; we rush from one activity to the next without enjoying the experience or doing our best.
As you see, these principles are more than simply training guides for your martial arts development. They are training for life! Learning to apply them to your training and to your life in general, will equip you to be successful in any venture.
Kwan Jang Nim Hwang Kee