14 September 2010

Toi-Gye Teul

TOI-GYE is the pen name of the noted scholar Yi Hwang 이황 (16th century), an authority on neo Confucianism. The 37 movements of the pattern refer to his birthplace on 37 latitude, the diagram represents "scholar".

Yi Hwang was a Neo-Confucianist scholar. Neo-Confucianism was more open to other ideas from Taoism and Buddhism. Historically Confucianism and Taoism stood somewhat opposed to each other. Neo-Confucianism tried to merge elements from the three great Oriental philosophies. Still, Neo-Confucianism kept a quite materialistic view of the world and did not believe in such Buddhist concepts as Karma and reincarnation. They did, however, believe in Ki -- the life force. However, they placed ephasis, rather on, I. The latter, according to Neo-Confucianism, is the base form of Ki and permeates everything in the world, while Ki is more specific manifestations of I.

Yi Hwang was a noted scholar, Confucian lecturer, and author of philosophical texts. As an extremely principled high level government official he was even exiled on more than one occasion for stringently sticking to his principles, while working under four different kings during his long career. Apart from his academic achievements, he was also a poet and calligraphy artist.

Yi Hwang's pen name, Toi-Gye 퇴계, translates as "Retreating Creek"; however, the pattern contains no retreating movements. All the movements meet the opponents head on with attentive guarding postures, engaging blocks and forward stepping attacks.

An interesting aspect of the pattern Toi-Gye is the repetition of six mountain blocks. A mountain is a symbol for strength and fortitude, which may refer to Yi Hwang's principled life. The pattern also has an interesting combination and repitition of circular blocks.

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