Gentlesness – 온유



The Principle of 온유: Embracing Gentleness in Martial Arts

Martial arts, often associated with strength, power, and discipline, have a deeper essence that extends beyond physical techniques. Beyond the flashy kicks and powerful punches, there lies a principle rooted in respect, control, and balance. One such principle, known as “온유” (pronounced “On-yu”), emphasizes the importance of gentleness in martial arts. In this blog post, we delve into the essence of 온유 and explore how it can enhance our martial arts practice and our lives.

The Meaning of 온유

온유, originating from the Korean martial art of Taekwondo, is often translated as “gentleness” or “softness.” However, it does not imply weakness or passivity. Instead, it encompasses a profound understanding of balance and control in both physical and mental aspects of martial arts. It encourages practitioners to harmonize power with gentleness, strength with compassion, and control with respect.

Gentleness in Technique

In martial arts, 온유 manifests in the execution of techniques. While power and aggression have their place, gentleness teaches us to employ just the right amount of force necessary to achieve our goals. It is about channeling strength and energy efficiently, with precision and control, rather than brute force. By embracing gentleness, we minimize unnecessary harm and create opportunities for a more balanced interaction between opponents.

Through 온유, practitioners learn to remain calm and composed, even in the face of adversity. It encourages us to respond to aggression with thoughtful actions rather than reflexive violence. By embracing gentleness, martial artists can transform potential conflicts into constructive encounters that foster personal growth and understanding.

Gentleness in Mind and Spirit

Beyond the physical realm, 온유 extends to our mental and emotional states. It encourages us to cultivate a gentle disposition within ourselves, fostering humility, patience, and empathy. By nurturing a gentle spirit, we become more open to learning, more receptive to others’ perspectives, and more willing to find nonviolent resolutions to conflicts.

Gentleness in our interactions with training partners, instructors, and fellow practitioners helps create a supportive and positive training environment. It fosters mutual respect, cooperation, and a shared commitment to growth. By being gentle with ourselves and others, we develop the ability to provide constructive feedback, offer encouragement, and inspire others to reach their full potential.

Applying 온유 Beyond Martial Arts

The principle of 온유 extends beyond the boundaries of the training hall, offering valuable lessons for life itself. By incorporating gentleness into our daily interactions, we can foster harmonious relationships, resolve conflicts peacefully, and contribute to a more compassionate and understanding society.

In personal relationships, 온유 allows us to communicate with empathy and kindness. It helps us listen attentively, respond thoughtfully, and seek understanding before judgment. By approaching conflicts with a gentle mindset, we can de-escalate tensions and find collaborative solutions that benefit all parties involved.


In the fast-paced and often aggressive world we live in, the principle of 온유 holds profound significance. It reminds us that martial arts are not merely about overpowering opponents but also about personal growth, self-discovery, and cultivating a balanced approach to life. By embracing gentleness in technique, mind, and spirit, we can enhance our martial arts practice and positively influence the world around us.

Through 온유, we tap into the transformative power of martial arts, allowing it to shape us into better individuals. As we train with gentleness, we become warriors of peace, spreading harmony and understanding both inside and outside the training hall. Let 온유 guide us on our journey.