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Complete history and chronology of Han Mu Do

Han Mu Do



HAN (High) - Hanmudo practitioners set short term, intermediate term and long term goals. The long term goal is to achieve their Black Belt. After goals are set, the practitioner then works diligently to achieve the goal.
han-bigwhleHAN (Wide or Open) - A Hanmudo practitioner trains to have and keep an open mind. They work to help others understand different people and cultures so we may all live in harmony and happiness.
han-brightness HAN (Bright or Optimistic) - A Hanmudo practitioner trains with a strong positive attitude. They strive to face all of their challenges with confidence. They understand that their challenges build strength.



HAN (High) - Hanmudo practitioners set short term, intermediate term and long term goals. The long term goal is to achieve their Black Belt. After goals are set, the practitioner then works diligently to achieve the goal.
han-bigwhleHAN (Wide or Open) - A Hanmudo practitioner trains to have and keep an open mind. They work to help others understand different people and cultures so we may all live in harmony and happiness.
han-brightness HAN (Bright or Optimistic) - A Hanmudo practitioner trains with a strong positive attitude. They strive to face all of their challenges with confidence. They understand that their challenges build strength.

Introduction to Han Philosophycalig-philosophy
Approximately Ten thousand years ago, the ancestors of the Korean people began to migrate to the east for the warm weather and bright sun. They crossed the Altai Mountains and settled in what today is Manchuria and the Korean Peninsula. It was there that the Korean people crafted a unique civilization based on the Han Philosophy. This Philosophy is purely of Korean origin and was nurtured and matured by the Korean people before relations with neighboring nations were established. The Han Philosophy is based on four distinct characteristics.
The first characteristic of Han means head or high position. Korean people look for leadership and guidance from the holders of these high position. They are the King or Head of State, the Father or Head of the Family, and the Teacher or Head of Classroom. They are regarded as the most important persons in the nation.
The second characteristic of Han means big or whole. Each person is considered a vital member of the community as a whole. Harmony within the community as a whole is very important in the pursuit of happiness for the individual and for the country.
The third characteristic of Han means brightness or optimism. Brightness in the Korean language implies peace, cleanliness and honesty in life. Korean people see the future as optimistic despite the hardships they have endured in the past.
The fourth and final characteristic of Han means higher learning. The Korean people place great value on education and culture. They strive for excellence in learning, whether it is in literature, scholastic studies or martial arts.
These four distinct characteristics of Han Philosophy permeated into every facet of Korean society. It has been embedded in Korean culture, religion, economics, politics, and especially in the martial arts and still plays a significant role in what constitutes the Korean identity.
Around the 1st century, B.C., the Korean people began to actively seek out contact with neighboring countries. The Han philosophy evolved as harmonious aspects of newly introduced ideas were incorporated into it.
Choi Chi-won, the preeminent Scholar and Warrior of the Silla Kingdom, wrote about the philosophy of Han on the Nan Nang Tomb. Master Choi said that the introduction of Confucianism in Korea reinforced Han values of respect to parents, teacher and King as well as loyalty to the country. The introduction of Taoism reinforced the Han philosophy of harmony with nature as well as other human beings. He also said that the introduction of Zen Buddhism reinforced love and mutual help among citizens of the society.

I. Han..Head or High Position
A. Head of State
The first characteristic of Han is head or high position. By 2333 B.C., Dan Kun united many tribes and established the first tribal nation in Korean History. This was called Cho Sun (Land of the Morning Calm). The first head of state of Cho Sun was known as Han Bi Kum or the "bright head of the tribal nation."
The philosophy of Han provides the Korean Head of State a simple lesson: "When the water from the upper portion of a stream is clean and clear, the water in the lower portion of the stream will be clean and clear." Similarly when the Head of State governs the country with love and care, the subjects of the nation will follow with respect. On the other hand, if the head of State governs the country for his own personal benefit and glory, the subjects will become selfish and corrupt and will turn away from the Head of State. In the Han philosophy, the Head of State should not only be educated intellectually in the affairs of politics, economics, culture and martial arts, but must also be well versed in the affairs of ethics, love, respect and care for his fellow citizens.
B. Parents
In the Koryo Kingdom, a book was written by great Zen Master Il Yun. In his book, Sam Kook Yu Sa, there is a celebrated story of a daughter's devotion to her mother. The young woman lived in the Silla Kingdom during the regime of Queen Jin Sun. She had lost her father at a very early age. She worked as an unskilled laborer to support herself and her blind mother. One year famine swept the kingdom. The young woman was out of work and destitute and, without telling her mother, she sold herself as a servant to a rich household for the price of thirty bushels of rice. She was allowed to work during the day, and return to her house at night to take care of her mother.
A few days went by, and then the blind mother spoke to her daughter. "In the past, I have enjoyed peace of mind, even though the food was not the best", she said. "Recently, the food has been very good, but I do not know why my mind is not at peace. I do not know what is wrong with me." Said the blind mother. With that the daughter told her mother the truth and they embraced and wept. The young woman realized that she was only thinking about physical satisfaction, food for hunger, for her mother, but failed to understand the peace in her mother's mind.
The Han philosophy states that devotion to one's parents is not considered submission or repayment, but it is an honor and a privilege that comes from the pure hearts of the sons and daughters. This level of devotion has been maintained throughout Korean history, despite age, wealth or social position.
The devotion to the parents does not end with the parents death, but is continued as ancestor worship. Even Confucius, the famous Chinese philosopher (500 B.C.), wrote that he admired the devotion of the Korean sons to their parents, especially the fact that they mourn the death of their parents for three years.
Han philosophy does not believe in the separateness of life and death. Life in this world is the continuation of life in a previous world and will continue into another world. In other words, at birth, the journey in the previous world is at the end and a new journey in this world is beginning. At death, the journey in this world is at an end, but it is at a beginning of another journey in the next world.
To illustrate this idea, let's examine the following analogy. You decide to travel from New York to San Francisco by train. You must first go to Grand Central Station in New York to purchase your ticket and then board the west bound train. At this point, relate the actions you took before you boarded the train to your life in the previous world. As the train begins the cross-country trip, relate this to being born in this world. The trip across the country is wonderful and life aboard the train is a very enjoyable adventure. Relate the activities on the train (i.e. enjoying the scenery, eating, sleeping, and talking to fellow passengers) as life in this world. As you arrive in San Francisco and get off the train, relate this to death in this world. However, does getting off the train constitute the end of the journey? No! You can visit the Golden Gate Bridge or go to Fisherman's Wharf or Chinatown. By the same logic, after death we will life on in another form of life in the next world. This philosophy not only gives psychological comfort to living persons, but also helps perpetuate ancestor worship.
C. Teacher
Along with the Head of State and Parents, the Teacher is also a very respected member of the Korean culture. Han emphasizes education. Without the teacher to educate, human beings would be no different from other animals that only try to satisfy instinctual needs such as hunger, sleep and reproduction. Because of the teacher, one can have intellectual and martial arts training.
Compare the teacher to a mountain guide. Climbing a mountain without an experienced guide may lead to disaster. However, having an experienced guide leading the party will allow the party to reach the mountaintop and enjoy the view.
From a teacher's point of view, there are three groups of students. The first group listens to the teacher's instructions very well. Following the teacher's guidance in sequence, they reach the top of the mountain and enjoy the view. The second group is full of doubt and mistrust of their teacher. Inevitably, they will separate from their teacher and wander about the middle of the mountain. The third group never pays attention to the teacher and never will step from the bottom of the mountain. The teacher should know how to handle each of these three different groups.
Respect of a teacher does not come naturally. The teacher must earn the respect by becoming role models for their students in morality and ethics and in their chosen fields.
During the early period of the Lee Kingdom, a very wise teacher tutored the son of the King. The prince saw the teacher as a perfect gentleman and could not find any weakness. One day the prince arrived early for class and decided to test the teacher's reactions by placing a very sharp nail in the teachers sitting cushion. The teacher came to class, sat on his cushion and began lecturing on the lesson. Time passed and the Teacher continued lecturing without any signs of emotion. Curiosity about the nail preoccupied the prince, and he soon began to neglect the lesson. He wondered if the teacher sat on the nail or if the nail was not pointing up when he say.
Soon the prince saw a pool of blood emerge from the cushion and stain the teacher's white pants. The teacher continued his lesson not giving the slightest notice to the blood. Astounded, the prince explained to his teacher that he had placed a nail in the cushion and begged for forgiveness. The prince asked the teacher, "I see the blood in the cushion and on your pants. Do you not feel the pain?"
The teacher replied, "Of course I feel pain, but I cannot jump off the cushion to express my personal pain in front of you. I am your teacher and I must teach you how to control your emotions in case of pain or emergency. When you become King, you may face painful situations such as famine, foreign invasion, or internal rebellion. If you jump off the cushion and do not know what to do, people will fault me as a teacher for not educating you properly. Therefore, this incident is a living lesson to show you how to control pain and emotion." For this, the prince respected the teacher more than ever.
II. HAN..Big or Whole
The second characteristic of Han means big or whole. An integrated community will enjoy unity, cooperation, harmony and peace.
A. Unity
The human race originates from different traditions, social backgrounds, levels of education and ethnic backgrounds. Each segment of the population possess different opinions, ideas, thoughts and behaviors. As long as one person believes that his is part of a collective community, there can be compromise among these differences.
The value of both good and bad in Han philosophy is based on the whole. Actions which benefit one as an individual, but harm the whole is considered to be bad. However, actions that benefit the individual as well as the whole group is considered to be good.
The Sunbi of Koguryo and the Wha Rang of Silla both placed great moral value on the whole. They respected each other and would have never betrayed a comrade on the battlefield. Master Won Hyo said that one should place value in the benefit of others as much as in himself. For example, the captain of a passenger ship must sail his ship safely to the destination. He is concerned not only for his personal safety, but the safety of the passengers and crew. The captain and the passengers share a common goal - reaching their destination safely.
B. Harmony
Han philosophy contains harmony and this penetrated into daily life in Korea. Harmony is two or more elements combining with one another to become a part of the whole without losing their respective identities. Nature is a great example of harmony. Great beauty in nature does not come from a single element but from many elements such as a clear water stream, a green mountain, and blossoming flowers. All of the elements contribute to the beauty of nature.
When the Sunbi or Wha Rang began their martial arts training, their teachers did not teach them techniques first. The students learned how to empty their minds through Zen meditation. Then they were taught how to build strong bodies as they traveled through the rugged mountain terrain and beaches on the shores of rivers and seas. Finally, the students were allowed to learn martial arts techniques. In this way, they learned how to harmonize three elements, mind, body, and techniques, to perform at their maximum ability.
C. Cooperation
Geographically, Korea is located between China and Japan. It is a natural land bridge between the two countries. Beginning in the 1st century BC, Korea has faced invasion by the Chinese, Mongolians, Manchurians, and Japanese. Each time the Korean people cooperated with one another to defend their country and expel the invaders. This spirit of cooperation comes from the Han philosophy.
Han philosophy does not see two people as separate identities but as members of the whole. This mind of wholeness has brought cooperation among the Koreans. One person helps another person when they are in need of assistance. This spirit of cooperation has become a way of life in Korea. As an example of this, Master Yul Kok, Secretary of Ceremony during the Lee Kingdom, encouraged the villagers to provide assistance when a house was destroyed by fire or water, a persons property was stolen, a poor man's parents became ill or dies, children lost their parents and were orphaned, and a family fell into poverty.
III. HAN..Brightness and Optimism
Brightness and optimism are major elements of the Han philosophy. In 2333 BC, Han Bae-Kum, the first King of Korea, established the Cho Sun tribal confederation. He proclaimed the capital of the new confederation to be A Sa Dal, which means the "brightly shinning and promising place." The people of Cho Sun believed that they lived in the birthplace of the sun. Living in this brightly shinning place, they believed that there could be a peaceful coexistence among the different tribes, that they could live in harmony with nature, and that there was an optimistic future. These beliefs of brightness, associated with peace, honesty, and optimism, have been carried out in the minds of Korean people for generation.
Master Won Hyo of the Silla Kingdom said that every man has an original mind, which is a purely good mind, He liked the original mind to the bright sunlight. The original mind is what causes people to help other people without thinking of being paid back or what is in it for them if they help someone. For example, if you were to see a baby about to fall into a pool of water, the original mind would cause you to run toward the baby and save him from falling. This act of saving the baby did not come from the promise of some type of reward. It is the action that emanated in the original mind.
Master Hyo expressed the feeling that people could live in peace and happiness as long as they acted according to the original mind. When the original mind is corrupted by actions of the false mind, actions such as prejudice, greed and selfishness, people act according to the false mind. Harmony in the mind is destroyed and peace and happiness are gone.
The relationship between the false mind and the original mind was compared by Master Hyo as bright sun versus clouds in the sky. On a cloudless day, the sun (original mind) is able to distribute light evenly over the ground (behavior originating from the original mind brings peace and happiness in the mind). When the sun is obscured by the clouds (false mind) in the sky, the light does not reach the ground (behavior of the false mind destroys harmony within the people and peace and happiness of the mind is in danger).
Master Hyo emphasized that maintaining the original mind at all times was the most important way to make good action. Regardless of the situation, actions originating from the original mind are considered to be good actions. However, actions originating from the false mind are considered to be bad actions. For example, when giving advice, if the motivation comes from the original mind, it is considered a good action. If the motivation for the advice is derived from the false mind, it is considered to be a bad action. The Master's lesson is that one should not only be concerned about action, but also understand the motivation behind the action.
IV. HAN..Intellectual
Education in penmanship and swordsmanship has been greatly emphasized throughout Korean history. The scholarly warrior is the object of great respect of the Korean people. The scholarly warrior is the object of great respect of the Korean people. In the Silla Kingdom, the Wha Rang system was established during the regime of King Jin Heung. Members of the Wha Rang were chosen from the sons of the upper class. They studied classical literature from scholars, meditation from Zen masters and physical training in the form of mountain climbing and martial arts. The graduates of the Wha Rang served as military officers or as officials in the civil service.
During the regime of King So Soo-Lim in Koguryo, Tae Hay, a college level educational institute, was established in the capital city. There, the sons of upper class learned literature and martial arts. At the provincial level, Pyung Dang, local colleges were established to teach martial arts and literature to the sons of the common people. Graduates of these institutions were known as the Sunbi and became the backbone of the military and civilian services.
The Sunbi felt a dual purpose in their lives. As well trained soldiers, they went to the battlefields to defend their country. At the same time, the Sunbi felt that penmanship and swordsmanship were of equal educational value. The harmony between the two was the ultimate goal. They possessed both a scholarly charm and a warrior's bravery.
Today in Han Mu Do, the Sunbi are still learning self-discipline, self -control, self-confidence, and self-realization. Learning new techniques and training through repetition of these techniques for months to years sets a pattern of lifestyle. Techniques improve every day but some days it may be very difficult to train with strong desire and other days it may be difficult to train due to weariness or other competing interest; even so, the student trains. This is how to learn the habit of self-discipline. In Han Mu Do training, students set a goal to become a Black Belt and, regardless, the student trains, like it or not.
Self-discipline learned in Han Mu Do training could be applied to daily life. For example, in the practice Bhang Kwon Sul (defense against a punch), the opponent punches which is defended with a block and then counter attack is initiated. This is a basic white belt requirement. This can also be applied to your daily life. In the morning, before getting up, count "one" and sit up on the bed. Count "two and stand up beside the bed. Count "three" and walk around the room. Using this formula, you will not have a problem getting up in the morning. Han Mu Do practitioners also use this method for application of self-discipline.
There are two ways to learn self-control in Han Mu Do training, physical control and mental control. In learning physical control, when the opponent punches, the Han Mu Do practitioner blocks and counters with proper distance in order to learn how to control attacking and defending techniques. Verbal or nonphysical attacks from an opponent may cause stress, anger, fear, etc. When Han Mu Do practitioners learn self-discipline they also learn self-control.
Learning self-confidence in Han Mu Do training does not come without the backing of techniques, physical health, knowledge, and a strong mind. Joint locks taught in Han Mu Do give you technical confidence that can help control a larger opponent with your fingers. Ki breathing exercises teaches you how to calm anger and control emotion. Han Mu Do philosophy conveys how previous masters lived and how they lead meaningful lives. With this kind of technical, mental, and intellectual training, you begin to realize that God created the universe but allows man to explore it and has given him unlimited potential for the future. This develops self-confidence for the future. Today, young people, especially in the western nations, are loosing the frontier spirit. Many of them come from family environments where there is no training in self-discipline, self-control, or self-confidence. Han Mu do training can provide this training which was not given at home.
Another purpose of Han Mu Do training is to learn the habit of self-realization. In our lives, we must learn to set goals and learn habits of achieving goals. In Han Mu Do, beginners set a goal to become Black Belt, which takes approximately three years. In goal setting, it is important to define your long-term goal and then set steps to achieve the long-term goal. These steps are defined as short-term goals and intermediate goals. In Han Mu Do, the dream to become a Black Belt is defined as a student's long-term goal. Without this dream, life in Han Mu Do can be meaningless. The Black Belt Course is divided into a twelve rank system. Each rank takes approximately three months to complete. The Han Mu Do system is designed in order that at every four ranks a student meets a goal. These are called Beginners Course, Intermediate Course, and Advanced Course. The first year of Han Mu Do training is a student's short term goal, the second year is a student's intermediate goal, and the third year is a student's long term or Black Belt goal.


Founder: He-Young Kimm

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