바로가기 메뉴
본문 바로가기
주메뉴 바로가기


Subscribe to our quarterly email newsletter 「ICM News」 to receive recent news about ICM, diverse writings by experts and youth, and relevant information.

Title [Martial Arts Globe] Instructors Setting an Example of Mind-Body Discipline (Chapter 2)

  • View
  • Date
  • Attach

Photo by Thao Le Hoang on Unsplash, Photo is not directly related to the writing.

Yun Jung-joo

Currently holds a sixth-degree black belt in Taekwondo bestowed by Kukkiwon, an international governing organization for Taekwondo. Began training Taekwondo in 1984, and has taught Taekwondo to students of various nationalities in countries overseas such as Yemen, Jordan and the United Kingdom since 2006. Currently undertaking a PhD program in Sport and Health Sciences at Cardiff Metropolitan University (Wales, UK), studying the social integration of immigrants and refugees through Taekwondo. Interested in helping traumatized students with a holistic development approach through Taekwondo practice.

View Chapter 1

Somatic Theory: Soma from a Monistic View


Somatics is based on holism that is a comprehensive, meaning-oriented, and experience-centered concept. With a holistic view, life as a whole is emphasized and a whole is greater than the sum of its parts (Haynes, 2009: 55). Thomas Hanna (1998) globally attracted the eyes of arts and physical educators through his study on somatic theory from the 1970s, beyond the dualism of Descartes. The theory takes a monistic approach that the Greek word soma is the integration of mind and body, which originally means the integral body of soul and body. In other words, mind and body are intimately interconnected, different from a dualistic view that the body holds mind and soul, or that the soul is more significant than both the body and the mind. For instance, it is widely recognized that physiological diseases come from psychological reasons meaning stress. Likewise, everything we experience in life is a somatic experience that does not distinguish between physical and mental experiences.


Somatic education is an integral form of training soma composed of mind and body. This is to foster both the mind and the body through rearrangement of body movements coming from organic work between them. Mi Hyun Chun (2014) applied a somatic view that “Human movement is a product of mind and body integration. They are a single organism that cannot be separated, just like the two sides of a coin” to the physical movement education for the elderly to promote holistic health, deriving a meaningful outcome. Likewise, more attempts are being carried out in the field of physical education such as in static yoga or dynamic dance sport. Moreover, it is very inspiring to see ongoing studies also in martial arts (Yeo In-seong).



Psychosomatic Training: Learning Do and Gaining Virtues


Earlier I have explained that psychosomatic training through accurate body movement allows holistic development, by mentioning the body philosophy of Yong-un Kim as an example. The somatic teaching methodology is in line with psychosomatic training in a holistic perspective. Then is it acceptable to say that we are on psychosomatic training when reading or listening to lectures? I’d like to answer this question by borrowing the concepts of learning and gaining through practice. To jump to the conclusion, when these types of learning are put into practice, they can be considered part of the training. According to Gyeong Ryeong Oh and Jae Yong Jang, reading — a way of enlightenment in epistemology — is an example of learning “do” meaning a way or a path. In turn, when learned do is put into practice repeatedly, we gain virtues. As the gained virtues allow the enhancement of mental ability, this can be referred to as a virtuous cycle of do and virtues. With the earned upright do and virtues we can live a moral life. This can be seen as the promotion of holistic development through psychosomatic training.


The fact that do—the most fundamental concept of martial arts—is a respect for the opponent can be learned through an instructor’s appropriate lesson and behavior. Before, during, and at the end of the training, practitioners show respect for each other by repeatedly bowing their heads. This is also one of the ways to gain virtues. After learning how to breathe appropriately and practicing repeatedly what they’ve learned, their mind and body become stable and relaxed respectively, leading to a positive health outcome. When they obtain a knowledge of how to kick properly and practice it over and over, they not only learn a strong and fast kick, but also acquire patience. The acquired patience, in turn, becomes a process to gain tolerance, a way of showing patience towards others. Also, the practitioners gain abilities to collaborate and to care for others after tons of practice in sparring. As I’ve explained, the training through martial arts brings about growth as a whole, covering physical capabilities, abilities to learn and empathize, and also ethical behavior towards others.


In that sense, martial arts instructors should be the first to promote development as a whole by setting a good example of psychosomatic training. Actions will be more powerful to influence practitioners to develop likewise, than simple words. The practitioners are likely to go after their instructors to have an upright mind and body. Furthermore, they will begin to respect themselves and overcome the hatred against others including the marginalized, showing an inclusive mindset and tolerance. This is exactly the way all genuine martial arts practitioners should behave! There would be no room left for sexual harassment, attacks against referees, play manipulation, and disrespect towards people with disabilities and sexual minorities!



Martial Arts Leaders Setting a Good Example of Psychosomatic Training


In the Western world, somatics is actively used in the medical sector for development of holistic treatment, and also in sports, in line with a holistic educational approach of training. Unfortunately, however, the training which originated from oriental martial arts cannot be easily seen in the field of martial practice. Many leaders who should be guiding the development as a whole are lax in training and only focusing on the commercial values, losing their’ virtues as a leader.


Now the leaders of martial arts should recover a holistic methodology of psychosomatic training. They should be at the forefront of learning do and gaining virtues. Only then, the students will follow. Taking this opportunity, I also remind myself that qualified instructors are the ones that not only have knowledge and abilities in the arts, but also set exemplary cases for the generations to come.


김용옥. (1994). 태권도철학의 구성원리. 서울 통나무.

김용훈. (2016). 동양무도의 철학적 기반에 관한 연구. 움직임의 철학: 한국체육철학회지, 24(2), 149-166

김이수. (2008). 한국문화 속의 신체문화. 한국학술정보().

남중웅 & 이정식. (2003). 전인교육실현을 위한 체육교육의 목표와 과제. 한국체육과학회지, 12(2), 459-472

송형석 & 이규형. (2009). 태권도수련과 도덕교육의 관계에 대한 소고. 움직임의 철학: 한국체육철학회지, 17(2), 227-241

여인성. (2001). 동양무도사상의 소매틱 교육적 의미에 관한 연구. 움직임의 철학: 한국체육철학회지, 9(2), 1-16

오경령 & 장재용. (2015). 동양무예의 윤리적 가치. 움직임의 철학: 한국체육철학회지, 23(2), 79-104

이병준. (2007). 전인교육, 교과 분리 아닌 통합적 관점에서 가능 - 체육 예술교과 평가 방식 전환과 전인교육. 중등우리교육, 28-31

이재학, 김창우 (2007). 현대 한국 무도에 보이는신체문화에 관한 연구. 한국체육과학회지, 16(2), 3-19

전미현. (2014). 소매틱적 접근을 통한 움직임교육이 노인들의 몸(Soma)에 미치는 영향, 무용예술학연구, 49(4), 101 - 121.

지동철. (2011). 무도수도의 본질과 정체성. 움직임의 철학: 한국체육철학회지, 19(2), 53-73

Hanna, Tomas. (1988). Somatics. Cambridge: Da Capo Press.

Haynes, C.J. (2009). Holistic human development, Journal of Adult Development, 16(1), 53-60.

Yuasa, Yasuo. (1987). The Body: Toward an Eastern Mind-Body Theory. Albany: State University of New York Press.


Internet Articles

무예신문. (2014, 04, 10). 이규형 교수 태권도 순기능 제대로 활용해야강조. http://www.mooye.net/8164

오마이뉴스. (2014, 05, 28). 김혜수가 존경하는 태권도 사범... 이유 있었네!. http://www.ohmynews.com/NWS_Web/View/at_pg.aspx?CNTN_CD=A0001996574

세계태권도연합뉴스. (2016, 06, 08). VOD(이규형 교수 첫번째 칼럼) 태권도가 왜 교육적이어야 하나?. http://www.wtu.kr/815

※ Views in this writing are the author's own. The references are in English and Korean and include reference for the first chapter as well.