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Starting to the left in our patterns

Left/Right and Yin/Yang

Some of my friends were recently have a debate over why many forms start to the left and end to the right. They came up with many explanations as to why this might be so but the simple fact is the bad/good or yin/yang concept of the East.

In the tradition of yin and yang the left stands for the "bad" or dark side and the "right" for the good or enlightened side. (Yin originally meant "shady, secret, dark, mysterious, and cold." Yin represents everything about the world that is dark, hidden, passive, receptive, yielding, cool, soft, absorbing and feminine.
Yang, the opposite of yin, in turn meant "clear, bright, the sun, heat." Yang represents everything about the world that is illuminated, evident, active, aggressive, controlling, hot, hard, penetrating and masculine.

From these basic opposites, a complete system of opposites was elaborated.
Everything in the world was identified with either yin or yang. Earth was the ultimate yin object. Heaven was the ultimate yang object.) Thus an attack would come from the yin or left and the yang or victorious side would be to the right (the way most patterns end). If they do not then it usually stands for something that happened in the life of the individual for whom the pattern is named.

Some examples of this in Taekwon-do are:

JOONG-GUN is named after the patriot Ahn Joong-Gun who assassinated Hiro-Bumi Ito, the first Japanese governor-general of Korea, known as the man who played the leading part in the Korea-Japan merger. There are 32 movements in this pattern to represent Mr. Ahn's age when he was executed in a Lui-Shung prison (1910). This pattern ends to the left or yin side (32. Bring the right foot to the left foot and then move the left foot to B forming a left fixed stance toward B, at the same time executing a U-shape block to B) to stand for his death at an early age and at the hands of the enemy.

CHOONG-MOO was the name given to the great Admiral Yi Soon-Sin of the Lee Dynasty. He was reputed to have invented the first armoured battleship (Kobukson) in 1592, which is said to be the precursor of the present day submarine. The reason why this pattern ends with a left (yin) hand attack is to symbolize his regrettable death, having no chance to show his unrestrained potentiality checked by the forced reservation of his loyalty to the king.

YOO-SIN is named after General Kim Yoo Sin, a commanding general during the Silla Dynasty. The ready posture signifies a sword drawn on the right rather than left side, thus ending up in the left or bad (yin) side, symbolizing Yoo Sin's mistake of following his Kings' orders to fight with foreign forces against his own nation.

Bob Olinghouse, 5th Dan

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Revised Last 1/09/08