KOREAN MARTIAL ARTS ISASANG AND MUDO

I n a previous article we looked at umyang (Um and Yang) and its relationship with Mudo. The relationship of umyang away from Mudo may be summarized like this. Urn and Yang are the two forces which balance the universe. The relationship between Um and Yang is mutual. But not absolute. The entity of Um with Yang and Yang with Um has interchanging characteristics. Um and Yang have an interdependent relationship and so umyang is continuously changing. When Um and Yang reach their maximum force, umyang changes character. At the point of their maximum force, the force of absorbency is at its greatest. As Um and Yang absorb each other. They both become stronger.

Umyang are interdependent upon each other. As Um develops and becomes stronger: Yang develops and becomes stronger, and vice versa. This is because umyang cannot exist without Um or Yang.

Throughout the world, comparative measurements are used to define what is high and what is low. If such did not exist, then Icm can be greater than 100km. However, when comparing Um to Yang, we cannot say that one is more important than the other. Um and Yang are equally important.

Umyang without Um is equivalent to umyang without Yang.

Um and Yang are known together as umyang. They have an inseparable connection. Even if one of the forces disappears, the remaining force transforms to become whole, thereby possessing umyang. The force of umyang is circular, not stationary. When Um and Yang oppose each other in equal amount, umyang achieves equilibrium. This means that the changing comparative characteristics of the entity are fixed, such as in fire and water.

Now let us study the concept of Sasang. Sasang refers to the four developing forms of umyang. As set out in the diagrambe-low. Yang above Yang.

Um above Um. And the additions of Um above Yang and Yang above Um. Before addressing the rela-tionship of Sasang to Mudo. It is important to look at what Sasang means.

In a simple explanation. Sasang can be equated with O-Heng (the five elements). However, such an assertion that Sasang and O-Heng are essentially the same can raise doubts and incorrectness of understanding. This is because the two indicate totally different numbers. Sa means number 4. and O relates to the number 5. In order to understand the reason for equating Sasang to O-Heng. A significant knowledge of Korean culture is required. This is because the meaning of Sasang originates from the agricultural society of Korea’s Bronze Age era.

A dolmen is a tomb made of a large flat stone laid on top of vertical stones. Of all the dolmens throughout the world. Approximate- ly 60% are in Korea. In Korea, they are known as go-in-dol.

The common types of go-in-dol are the southern style and the northern style. An example of a northern style go-in-dol. Found in the Kyung-Ki-Do

Kang-Hwa-Do region, is show in the photograph below It is said that the shape of the Ursa Major constellation (also referred to as ‘the Plough) is engraved upon go-in-dols. Inscriptions of perception, explaining time and space, are also engraved. The position of a go-in-dol is related to the definite path of the rising and setting sun. with the horizontal stone pointing north-south.

It is important to note that we cannot distinguish the four cardinal points – north, south, east, and west – without knowledge of what is the centre. For example, as the earth is round, we need to know the centre point of the globe before we can then define the northern and southern hemispheres. Thus, the centre point must exist before knowledge of a direction. Understanding the necessity of their being a middle, which is a fifth point. Assists us in understanding how Sasang and O-Heng relate to one another. In addition to the four developing forms of umyang.

Sasang has a fifth form, which represents the balance. Beginning and pre-existence of the other four. Thus. Sasang is equal to O-Heng because they both refer to five entities which balance the universe.

In Korea there have been many studies which are useful to our understanding of the application of Sasang in practice. An example of how Sasang is used in the present day was founded by a famous doctor of the Choseon Dynasty. Lee Jae-Ma. Lee Jae-Ma’s medical achievement was to link human diseases with studies of Sasang. He studied an intensive method of Sasang medicine. Since then. Sasang medicine has contributed greatly to the study and understanding of medicine as a whole, and research into Sasang medicine still continues.

Rather than looking for the same cure for everyone with an illness such as influenza. Sasang medicine has four or more cures for the same illness, which are prescribed according to the constitutional type of the patient. According to Sasang medicine. There are essentially four body types. A person can be assigned to a category according to their constitution and disposition. The four general types are show in the diagram opposite.

Tae-Yang people have a lot of Yang and Tae-Um people have a lot of Um. So-Um people have Yang as their base and Um above their Yang. Vice versa. So-Yang people have Um as their base and Yang above their Um. The characteristic of Yang is to disperse and to diffuse; the characteristic of Um is to converge. It is important to note at the outset that categorizations are not absolute. This is because one person does not always fall into only one of the four categories. Often a person can have more than one type applied to them. A Yang person is a morning person: an Um person is the opposite and has difficulty waking-up in the morning. Generally. People who are slim and are short-tempered are Yang type and people who are portly and patient are Um type.

The rate of energy diffusion is intense for a Tae-Yang person. And therefore it is easy for them to loose weight. Their Ki (spir-itual energy) rises upwards, and so their upper body is developed. In comparison, a Tae-Um person has high energy absorption. Their Ki moves downwards, and therefore they have a developed lower body. For a So-Yang person, energy diffusion moves to the upper body. For a So-Um person, energy diffusion moves towards the lower body.

Yang people (Tae-Yang and So-Yang types) are distracted easily and lack planning. This causes them to suffer from mental burdens. Therefore, mind relaxation exercises, such as Dan-Jun breathing, are helpful. Um people (Tae-Um and So-Um types) do not usually enjoy doing much exercise: therefore relaxation followed by a physical exercise is recommended. In Sasang medicine. A training prescription of the exercises best suited to improving the health of a person is matched according to the patient’s body type and may be summarized as follows:

Tae-Yang body type

It is important that Tae-Yang people, who have insufficient composure in their lives, have a method of relaxation to find peace before starting a task. Starting the day with Dan-Jun breathing and listening to classical music will help throughout the day. A Tae-Yang person has small hips and a weak lower body: therefore they can overstrain their back (spine) and have a high risk of injuring their knee joints. It is recommended that Tae-Yang people train their lower bodies by walking, mountaineering, skipping, and play-ing golf early in the morning. Exercises which strengthen their waist are also recommended.

So-Yang body type

Like a Tae Yang person, a So-Yang person has a weak lower body. Mountaineering, aerobics, cycling, and long distance run-ning are suitable exercises for the legs and waist. These exercises are also best in the morning. The most recommended exercise is mountaineering, where the tackling of steep hills in a short time is advisable. For So-Yang people who are progressive on every matter, it is also good for them to have a short bath in the morning.

Further, and to help maintain an easy day, a peaceful mind can be achieved by reading a short essay before engaging in tasks.

Tae-Um body type

Obesity is common in a Tae-Um person. Tae-Um people also often have weak lungs, due to inherited respiratory diseases such as asthma.

Therefore, swimming in the afternoon and deep breathing exercises are beneficial. Tae-Um people who enjoy lots of nightlife and social gatherings are exposed to sexual diseases: so some careful measures are advisable. For Tae-Um people, over-sleeping on weekend mornings, and doing sports such as football (soccer) and basketball regularly on afternoons will also benefit their health.

So-Um body type

A So-Um person has a weak body and lacks stamina. They have occasions when their bodily energy clots in one particular area where it can then start an illness. Therefore, exercises which circulate Ki (energy) away from the fatal points of the body are highly recommended. It is important that they exercise their entire body regularly and that they maintain sufficient muscular strength in order to remain flexible.

Sports such as tennis, table tennis, as well as dumbbell and horizontal bar exercises, in short concentrated sessions, are best. Weekend trips are also helpful in releasing stress.

The explanations above were made in order to show how basic applications of Sasang may be used in practice. Sasang medicine was only fully understood by Lee Jae-Ma. We are only continuing to follow and learn from his wisdom. The reason I have come to the West is to spread and share my wisdom of knowledge and to learn what I do not know yet also in return.

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