Who is a Do-Ban?

Hwa Chong on spiritual friendship

Everyone needs trusted companions who can accompany one through life as lifelong friends.

In Korean language there is a term for such friends. They are Do-bans, literally ‘Tao companions’.

We must pursue the truths of life by awakening spiritually. That is the ultimate aim of Taekwondo.

Today Olympic sports are pursued for just one purpose: to win. In this single-minded quest to win, however, we forget the greater pursuit of spiritual awakening.

I regard this as the purpose of Kang Duk Won, our ‘Lecture Virtue House’ of Taekwondo.

Collective agreement and collective action is the essence of United States’ social, industrial, and technological achievements.

We have to unite therefore, so small groups (like states) become bigger and stronger (like the United States).

We need a spiritual renaissance. This is the first step to a greater new world.

-Hwa Chong


Who is a Do-Ban?

Do-Ban is a Korean term that one seldom hears in the dojang. It means a friend (ban) in the Way (Tao or Do), in other words, a Dharma friend or in plain English a spiritual friend. 

In Taekwondo we learn through our teachers and through hard training that there are higher aims in life than having a great weekend or having a successful career. Especially in Kang Duk Won Taekwondo, we learn values like honor, loyalty, and generosity, not so much from lectures or discussions as from direct experience, especially by the example of our friends and teachers. We learn that there are certain intangibles, like friendships, that have no price.

A hundred people may all train together in the same dojang, and eventually all of them may become friends. However, not all will become do-bans. In fact, it is rare to find two do-bans in the same dojang or indeed anywhere, for this special type of friendship is quite rare. 

On the surface, Taekwondo seems to be all about fighting, about becoming capable, even fearsome, fighters. But look deeper and you discover that it is about finding and developing something intangible called spirit.

[From conversations with GGM Hwa Chong]

About Patrick Harrigan

Patrick Harrigan has since 1969 been a student and friend of Hwa Chong, Chonggae and President of World Kang Duk Won. Researcher, writer, editor and publisher, he is WKF Vice-President for International Affairs and editor of the WKF website and journal.