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Grand Master Rho


Grand Master Rho was featured on the Summer 1981 Taekwondo Times cover.

Grand Master Rho's TKD Times article is below.  Click on the TKD Times graphic to view a larger picture of the Taekwondo cover.

Tae Kwon Do-ist
Oriental Philosophy

Young Chul Rho


Summer 1981 TKD Times Cover

A native of Korea, Master Young Chul Rho is a veteran Instructor with worldwide teaching experience in such varied places as the Philippines, Japan, Singapore, Iran, Germany, Thailand, Australia, and elsewhere. He has counted among his students members of the police, military forces, and members of Royalty. Today he directs five schools in the Central Illinois area, with his main school located in Decatur, Illinois.

The human being is a social animal. No person can live alone, secluded from others. In addition to clothes, food, and shelter, the social environment is a vital factor influencing one's behavior. This social environment includes human relations such as those with family, friends and peers. For the human family to exist in concord, certain rules must be established and observed, and cooperation among individuals is required. An individual is not only a member of his own family, but of larger social structures as well. Social relations are established and regulated by the rudimentary rules of society. This is why mutual cooperation and compromise must exist among the members of society. Since we do not live by ourselves, we must recognize the rights and intrinsic value of those around us. We must recognize the sacredness of the lives of others. In addition, we need to learn to contribute our individual personality, philosophy, and special skills to achieving the goals of society as a whole. Again, this can be realized only through compromise and mutual cooperation.

Modern society is characterized by individualism and utilitarianism. Individuals in modern society are often egocentric, and interested only in individual gain. Therefore, it is increasingly difficult to experience courteous behavior. Throughout the world, the culture of modern society has swept away once well observed norms of social behavior. So often the relationships between parents and children are corrupted by immoral-criminal acts such as incest, patricide, or simple abandonment; and those between the ruler and the ruled disrupted by assassination, mutiny, or revolution. We see the relationships between husband and wife destroyed by divorce, abuse, or adultery; those between friends marred by betrayal, distrust or even libel. Modern society doesn't have to be like this. It is time for us to reexamine our values.

Let us first examine the Traditional Oriental Philosophy which consists of the "Practical Norms" of Confucianism. This is called "Sam Kang Ou Ryoon". "Sam Kang" refers to three ties of human relations. There should be righteous and virtuous ties between (1) parents and children, (2) the ruler and the ruled, and (3) the husband and the wife. "Ou Ryoon" refers to five norms which are defined as (1) a loving relationship between parents and children; (2) loyalty and trust between ruler and ruled; (3) separate roles between husband and wife (4) an ordinal relationship between the young and the old; and (5) belief and trust between friends.

The underlying social virtue referred to is not just limited to the Orient. Although the wording is different, the same social virtue is mentioned in the Bible. St. Paul wrote: "Charity is patient, is kind; charity does not envy, is not pretentious, is not puffed up, is not ambitious, is not self-seeking, is not provoked; thinks no evil, does not rejoice over wickedness, but rejoices with the truth; bears with all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." (Corinthians I, Chapter 13, Verses 4-7)

If all people would practice the norm of charity as taught in the Bible and practice "Sam Kany Ou Ryoon" as taught by Confucius, we surely could experience much more peace and courtesy in our lives.

Since the real world is remote from the ideal virtuous, and loving world, we perhaps need to use these words to reflect on our conduct and reenlighten ourselves. We need to discriminate between good and bad; virtue and vice; righteousness and wicked- ness. We also should live straight, work to achieve our goals and achieve them fairly. Further, we can, through conscious effort, promote healthier thinking and a better life. In this regard, Tae Kwon Do can be a great advantage, in that it promotes self-discipline and perseverance.

Attitudes of a Tae Kwon Do-ist

  1. The Tae Kwon Do-ist is a leader who is required to faithfully fulfill his mission, to live the Tae Kwon Do Philosophy, to improve his Art through scientific research, to participate in social life with justice, and to devote his knowledge to the improvement of Society.
  1. Tae Kwon Do, a traditional Korean Martial Art practiced since Korea's earliest history, was the core of life and training of both mind and body of the Hwa Rang. (A group of young cadets in the Silla Dynasty in the 5th Century which later became a driving force in the unification of Korea in 668 A.D.). Thus, among the underlying norms of Tae Kwon Do are loyalty and patriotism. Therefore, teaching Tae Kwon Do cannot be considered complete if only self- defense techniques are taught. Instead one must teach all of the maxims of the philosophy of Tae Kwon Do, "The philosophy of Jee (Wisdom), Duk (Virtue), and Che (Physique)."
  1. Tae Kwon Do teaching should be done with true love. Love in teaching means seeding the future by overcoming self-interests and favoritism. No one student can be neglected. All students should be treated equally. No student should be overlooked, but each taught and evaluated with full-hearted effort, just as the most favorite student would receive. Each student should also be encouraged to expect a fully matured and well-balanced Tae Kwon Do development through training. Only through true love in teaching can students live with the Tae Kwon Do Philosophy and brighten Tae Kwon Do's future, much in the same way students master each single Tae Kwon Do movement under the warmth of the instructor's love.
  1. Both Tae Kwon Do instructors and students must persevere. Confucius said: "There will be no victory without perseverance". This teaching should not only apply to Martial Arts training, but also to all other facets of our daily life: in the workplace, at school, and even at home; for our lives require endurance, emotional control, and attitudes that will enhance the fulfillment of personal commitments and responsibilities. Thus, Tae Kwon Do learning can be extended to our daily lives, and become a means of promoting courteous behavior.
  1. Tae Kwon Do training, which enables us to achieve balance between courtesy and social norms, can be a stepping stone to promoting courteous behavior in all. Tae Kwon Do teaches us to seek self-correction before blaming or hating others; so we can forgive others rather than seeking forgiveness, and love others rather than seeking love. We wear a white practice uniform, the color of which signifies purity. Let's not just pretend purity by simply wearing a white uniform; rather we should truly purify our mind and behavior. "One can rule the world only after becoming a great leader of state; one can be a great leader only after becoming a great head of a household; and one can be a great head of a household only after becoming a master of his own mind and body, and purifying his own behavior." This again is a very important Confucian teaching. It is time for us to reaffirm our commitment to be great leaders and build a better and brighter future for Tae Kwon Do.


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