The King In Search of a General

By Master Phap Ken Lu, M.B.A., 8TH Degree

Chairman of Education Committee of International TKD Federation


The ultimate goal of TaeKwon-Do is to promote the building of a better society.  To meet this important goal, it is necessary for the qualified TaeKwon-Do Master and Instructor to develop citizens who, through high moral values with a  healthy body and educated mind, contribute to building an ideal society.  One can imagine the social impact of such a project when one knows that more than thousands of people in LU¡¦S TAEKWON-DO and millions around the world practice TaeKwon-do!  The following is an anecdote designed to help the reader better understand what criteria is needed to fulfill our role in society.


Once in ancient Korea, the King¡¦s trusted General-In- Chief died in an accident. Although saddened by this tragedy, the King knew that he had to choose a new General- In-Chief quickly.  Several of his generals were interested in the position and it was the King¡¦s responsibility to make this difficult choice.


The King decided to consult his spiritual master, who was famous in the land for his wisdom.  The King traveled to the top of the mountain and talked about his troubles to the sage.  After having told his story, the King added that he was in a difficult position and asked the wise man to give him the name of the ideal person for the position.


The wise man remained silent for quite a while, then told the King that he refused to choose for him.  ¡§I won¡¦t tell you the name of the person, but I will use this situation to make you realize the importance of the choice you will make.  I will ask you some questions which will help you find the right man.¡¨


The King agreed and the wise man began: ¡§If you find a person who has a pleasing personality who will govern well, but whose health is poor, would you pick him?¡¨


The King thought for quite a while, then answered.  ¡§No, because if this person is not in good health, he cannot be General-In-Chief even if he is extremely competent and a great man.  His ill health will stop him from making the people benefit from his other qualities.



¡§You see, sire, you just decided that HEALTH is one of the criteria,¡¨ said the wise man.  ¡§Sire, if the person you choose is in good health, has a kind personality, but does not have what it takes to govern the land, would you accept him?¡¨


Again the King thought about the question.  He finally answered, ¡§No, because his lack of competence will make a poorly governed country and I may lose all my soldiers in the case of a war.¡¨


¡§So,¡¨ concluded the wise man, ¡§COMPETENCE is also important to assume the role.  Now, if the person you choose is in good health, is competent but does not have a strong PERSONALITY, will you make him your General-In-Chief?¡¨


Without hesitation, the King answered: ¡§No, never! A person who has no principles will not be loyal to me and would sell us to the enemy.¡¨


Finally, the wise man made one final comment.  ¡§HEALTH, COMPETENCE and a PERSONALITY are three basic criteria of which I have made you aware.  Now, you can choose for yourself the person whom you can trust who will make your people happy and prosperous.¡¨


And so the King followed the wise man¡¦s advice and chose the person most capable of satisfying the needs of his people.


[ Go Back ]