Junbi: Ready for Anything


Junbi, Joonbi, Choonbi…to know your junbi is to know yourself. 

There are many ways to say and spell this very common phrase in Tae Kwon-Do. Its meaning may vary too, depending on the Korean person that you are talking to, and where they place the emphasis on words. This is very common with English pronunciations of Korean words. 

Traditionally, “Junbi” means “ready stance.” Ready stance is the position we are in when we begin patterns, one-step exercises, etc. At our dojang, this means your head is up, feet are parallel, toes forward, soft knees (but never locked), and both fists in front of the knot of your belt, arms slightly bent and forward.That would be the normal junbi stance. 

If you are competing in a tournament and the referee is Korean, he may yell “junbi!” This time, it might mean to step back into your fighting stance, depending on which syllable he emphasized. So now you’re in a junbi ready to spar as opposed to a junbi for practicing a pattern at the dojang. It may seem minimal, but I have certainly seen it throw a few competitors who don’t know the difference.

In its rawest form, “junbi” might actually just mean “I am ready for anything.” Typically, the word is used to describe readiness as it pertains to martial arts.

But I don’t settle for typical. 

If you truly embrace Tae Kwon-Do as a way of life both within the dojang and outside of it, then Junbi can apply to any aspect of your life. Done properly, “junbi” means “I am ready in my body, I am ready in my spirit, and I am ready in my mind.” 

Physically, my body is strong and capable enough for the task at hand.

Mentally, I am knowledgeable and clear-headed.

Spiritually, I am putting my entire self into my technique. I am not just throwing a punch. I am throwing a martial arts punch. I am executing a self-defense technique with the intent to inflict pain, harm, or injury. 

Too many people accept “junbi” at face value. To them, it is just a Tae Kwon-Do term meaning “ready stance.” It means much more than that. Just as the word can have slightly different interpretations based on Korean dialect, it can have different applications based on the situation you are in. 

To an attorney, Junbi can mean knowing the law inside and out and keeping your mind sharp to present the best argument possible. To a surgeon, it can mean doing the physical work to maintain a steady hand. For a musician, it may mean knowing your instrument well enough to be able to create as quickly as you can imagine. 

Whatever your profession, whatever activity or task you have in front of you, whatever life throws your way, to know your junbi is to know yourself.

Master Gorino’s Tae Kwon-Do offers a trial program for individuals and families in Buffalo, NY and the surrounding areas that allows you to get a feel for the different classes, meet our instructors, and experience our dojang. It’s a great way to see if Tae Kwon-Do is right for you. To learn more or to sign up, register online or call (716) 836-KICK (5425) and a member of our team will follow up with you on next steps. We look forward to helping you achieve your goals. Pil-Sung!


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