Why I practice Ko-Dang and not Juche.
On the surface the replacement of Ko-Dang in 1986 with Juche seems ok. The following is the brief definitions of the two forms.
Kodang (Movements - 39)
Ko Dang is the pseudonym of the patriot Cho Man Sik who dedicated his life to the independence movement and education of his people. The 39 movements signify his times of imprisonment and his birthplace on the 39th parallel.
Juche (Movements - 45)
Juche is a philosophical idea that man is the master of everything and decides everything.
In other words, the idea that man is the master of the world and his own destiny. It is said
that this idea was rooted in Baekdu Mountain which symbolizes the spirit of the Korean
people. The diagram represents Baekdu Mountain.
This exchange of forms has been said it was a gift from General Choi to the North Koreans to help spread Taekwon-Do.
So a form about independence is replaced by one about man mastering everything and the world. Which in and of itself sounds like independence. Why remove one form standing for independence and replace it for another whose definition on the surface sounds very similar.
A deeper look is needed to see why removing Ko Dang would be helpful. Cho Man Sik was a staunch anti-communist. He became to be known as 'The Ghandi of Korea' as he organized independence marches against Japan during their occupation and after WWII ended tried to form a free government for all of Korea.
The soviets brought exiled Kim Il Sung to be put in as leader of North Korea. Due to the power of the soviets Cho Man Sik was eventually taken from power and placed in prison. With Kim Il Sung taking over as president.
Eventually Kim Il Sung and his communist party took over North Korean and had Cho Man Sik imprisoned and eventually executed. It is said that his execution signaled the start of Christian persecution in North Korea.
It is easily seen why it would be hard to promote Taekwon-Do to a communist country when one of the forms is dedicated to an anti-communist who gave his life trying to stop communism.
Now it goes from bad to worse.
Juche's definition sounds well and good. That man must stand up for themselves, to be the best that they can be. The word is very had to translate exactly. The reason for that, is it is a made up word.
Kim Il-Sung created the idea of Juche as his own form of Communism that was distinctly Korean.
Looking at the brief definition above and looking deeper into what Juche means politically there is one thing missing from the Taekwon-Do definition that exists in the meaning of Juche. While man is to master everything it is for "The Great Leader".
• "popular masses are placed in the center of everything, and the leader is the center of the masses"
• "for the masses to be successful, they need a "Great Leader""
So Juche by definition is people under the dictatorship of a single person while under the guise of helping the common man by having a singular Great Leader.
This is why I, Wesley Lee, do not practice Juche nor will I teach it to my students. I do not support communism no matter how you dress it up or rename it. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.