유능제강 U NUNG
태산무언 TEH SUN
Every day of my martial arts training at Young-In University, year
after year, I had to repeat these two sentences. Every student was
drilled daily on their meaning and application, not just to the
practice of the martial arts, but to life. The philosophy they
embody is central to the successful application of martial arts
techniques in sparring, and to the successful development and
maintenance of relationships in one’s personal and business life.
What do they mean? The words are easy to translate, but to fully
comprehend their meaning, a person must reflect and think deeply.
The concept must be grasped at the intellectual level and felt at
the physical level. Otherwise, application will be impossible.
유능제강 U nung
cheh gung: Soft power overcomes hard power.
태산무언 Teh sun
mooun: The big mountain is silent.
In sparring, “soft power” means your body is relaxed, your facial
expression is both neutral and open, and your mind is clear. When
the opening comes, you attack suddenly with a flash of strength—and
your opponent is taken by surprise. His body tenses and his mind
becomes confused; he cannot reconcile this devastating attack with
his first impression of you. You now have the advantage. Soft power
conserves strength, confuses your opponent, and keeps your mind
Think of the Yin and Yang symbol, a circle half black and half
white, with a contrasting-color smaller circle in each half. The
white half is soft power, with the smaller black dot of hard power
ready to spring into action and ascendancy. The black half is hard
power, with the smaller white dot of soft power ready to overtake
the black and regain ascendancy. There is balance; there is flow.
To practice soft power in class, your warm-up kicks should be very
fluid until just the imagined point of impact, when you release your
hard power in a snap. Then return immediately to soft power. In the
forms, relax your body until the end of each motion, when hard power
ascends. Then return immediately to soft power.
personal and business life, “soft power” means that you do not
present a threat to your family or associates. Your body is relaxed,
you facial expression is neutral or welcoming, there is no anger,
and your mind is clear. The result is that the people you deal with
will not feel defensive or fearful, but trustful. They will tend to
be open and frank.
But here, a critical difference occurs. In sparring, you would use
the person’s openness to you to attack; in your personal and
business life, you MUST use it to help. You must use the physical
and mental strength and confidence that comes from your training to
assist in any way you can—even if that means just listening with an
open heart. There are two reasons for this: First, it is the
honorable way, the way of the warrior. To behave otherwise would
mean that you lose your honor and your standing as a martial artist.
Second, if you use your soft power to hurt or betray the person who
trusted you, the hurt will return to you many times over.
To achieve soft power, both your body and your soul must change. The
change in the body is seen in the body; the change in the soul is
seen in the eyes. To change your body, you must change your mind; to
change your soul, you must develop your heart. To achieve these
things, meditate on this: Teh sun mooun: The big mountain is silent.
Grand Master Yong-Man Lee