Thursday, January 12, 2017

Force and Violence

I remember, while taking Taekwondo from the ROK Tiger Division in Quy Nhon, Vietnam back in 1968, I noticed that all my teachers were Buddhists. They used to invite me to spend time with them on our days off and visit Buddhist Temples and shrines around the city. 

Going anywhere with the ROKs was being the safest you would ever be in Vietnam. They were known for their ruthlessness and the extreme force with which they would use to quickly dispel any conflict that may arise. When they traveled down the streets, either in a vehicle or more importantly, the path ahead would clear for you. People went into their homes and closed the doors and windows. 

The United States Forces in Vietnam often used the Korean Army in situations where it might be politically or diplomatically impossible for the US to do something directly. One instance we witnessed in Quy Nhon during the famous 1968 Tet Offensive, a period that totally reversed the momentum of American-Vietnam War, when the VC took control of the local radio station. The ROKS were called in, the job was done. They gave the intruders 30 seconds to get out of the building, after which, being ignored, they destroyed the building. 

I asked my teachers one day, “As Buddhism is such a peaceful and pacifist philosophy, how do you justify the very aggressive nature of what you do here and the use of your martial art form, which, unlike some forms of martial art, when used to it’s highest capacity, is fatal?”

My teachers answered….”Because we do not support violence, we use our extreme force to quickly stop violence anywhere we can and remove it’s effects as quickly and efficiently as possible, using a maximum amount of force for a minimal amount of time, thus restoring peace.”

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