5 Tenets of Taekwondo & Oath

tenets

COURTESY (Ye Ui)

Victory Martial Arts students should attempt to practice the following elements of courtesy to build up their noble character and to conduct the training in an orderly manner. To promote the spirit of mutual concessions.

  • To be ashamed of one’s vices and contempting those of others.
  • To be polite to one another. To encourage the sense of justice and humanity.
  • To distinguish instructor from student, senior from junior, and elder from youth.
  • To behave oneself according to the etiquette.
  • To respect others’ possessions.
  • To handle matters with fairness and sincerity.
  • To refrain from giving or accepting any gifts when in doubt.

First impressions? Many an opinion of a person is made on an initial meeting, whether it be in social circles or a work environment. General Choi states that courtesy is an important unwritten regulation in everybody’s life in order to maintain an harmonious society. A person should always try to exercise this tenet, not only in their Taekwon-Do training, but also in both their social and professional life. It is of the most importance when being an instructor. On entering the Dojang for the first time, the new student will undoubtedly be influenced not only by how courteous the instructor is to them, but also by how courteous the senior students are to the instructor. This will in turn create an atmosphere conducive for the students to train in. To be constantly courteous and polite in a professional environment can often prove difficult, especially when dealing with a person who does not have the same attitude. However, when one perseveres in courtesy, one will eventually win and gain people’s respect in the end. Courtesy can also mean tolerance, for example tolerance of of other peoples opinions, ideals, and beliefs. This notion is compatible with the Taekwon-Do ideal, found in the student oath, of building a more peaceful world.

 

INTEGRITY (Yom Chi)

One must be able to define right and wrong and have the conscience, if wrong, to feel guilt. The following is a list of examples where integrity is lacking:

  • The instructor who misrepresents himself and his art by presenting improper techniques to his students because of a lack of knowledge or apathy.
  • The student who misrepresents himself by ‘fixing’ breaking materials before demonstrations.
  • The instructor who camouflages bad techniques with luxurious training halls and false flattery to his students.
  • The student who requests rank from an instructor, or attempts to purchase it.
  • The student who gains rank for ego purposes or the feeling of power.
  • The instructor who teaches and promotes his art for materialistic gains.

“Honesty is the best policy”. This is an adage that we hear of a lot in life. From a very early age we are all taught to be honest. As we get older, however, many of us find it difficult to uphold. This can be due to the various constraints we find ourselves in during our later life. To seek to achieve integrity and honesty in all areas of your life is a challenge in itself for the simple reason that it is extremely difficult to be honest with yourself. However, the literal definition of integrity can be made to cover a wider scope of interpretation. This can also include: wholeness, entirety, unbroken state, moral soundness and uprightness. With these definitions in mind it can be seen why General Choi’s explanation includes the ability to: “define right and wrong and have the conscience, if wrong, to feel guilt”. Most people will agree that if as a person, you try to be honest in Taekwon-Do, as indicated in General Choi’s explanation of the tenet, this will inevitably reflect in your professional and private life and you will earn respect in all of these different areas.

 

PERSEVERANCE (In Nae)

There is an old Oriental saying; “Patience leads to virtue or merit. One can make a peaceful home by being patient for 100 times.” Happiness and prosperity are most likely brought to the patient person to achieve something, whether it is a higher degree, or the perfection of a technique, one must set his goal then to constantly persevere.

It’s literal definition means “to continue readily with or persist in any business or enterprise undertaken”. General Choi says: “To achieve something, whether it is a higher degree or the perfection of a technique, one must set his goal, then constantly persevere….. One of the most important secrets in becoming a leader in Taekwon-Do is to overcome every difficulty by perseverance”. The student of Taekwon-Do must apply this tenet in their training at all times if they are to reach any goal in Taekwon-Do. Whether they are putting in two to three hours training per day to prepare for an important competition, practicing for an approaching Kup or Dan grading, trying to perfect the fundamental movements in a pattern or trying to develop the ‘theory of power’ in the fundamental techniques of Taekwon-Do – all of these tasks require perseverance. Confucius said – “One who is impatient in trivial matters can seldom achieve success in matters of great importance”.

 

SELF-CONTROL (Ye Ui)

Self control is extremely important inside and outside the do-jang, whether conducting oneself in free sparring or in one’s personal affairs. A loss of self control in free sparring can prove disastrous to both student and opponent. An inability to live and work within one’s capability or sphere is also a lack of self control.

All practitioners of Taekwon-Do must be taught that Taekwon-Do is an art of self defence. It must always therefore be used as a last resort, and then only as a restraint to contain the opponent. With this in mind it is easy to see the importance of this tenet. A loss of self-control can be disastrous for both parties. Taekwon-Do has the reputation of being the most powerful martial art ever devised. This can be measured and proved scientifically and the amount of power that a student develops, even after a short period of training can be devastating and potentially lethal. For this reason, it is simply neither practical nor possible to have “full contact” sparring. Therefore this tenet, along with the others is extremely important both inside and outside the dojang. Lao-Tzu summed up the importance of self-control when he said: “the term of ‘stronger’ refers to the person who wins over oneself rather than someone else”.

 

INDOMITABLE SPIRIT (Baekjul Boolgool)

A serious student of Taekwondoo will, at all times, be modest and honest. When confronted with injustice he will deal with the belligerent without any fear or hesitation at all, with indomitable spirit, regardless of whosoever, and however many the number may be. As history has proven, those who have pursued their dreams earnestly and strenuously, with indomitable spirit, have never failed to achieve their goals.

This tenet has very deep philosophical meanings. The literal definition of “indomitable” is “that which can not be subdued”, whereas spirit can mean many things, from an essential or active quality of a thing to the essence or vigour of the intellect or mind. General Choi refers to the heroic actions of the 300 Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae who fought against overwhelming odds and superior forces as an example of indomitable spirit. It is shown when a courageous person and his principles are pitted against overwhelming odds. For example, when a person or in some cases, where a whole people believe that a wrong has ben done, or an injustice carried out, their indomitable spirit will always show through. For the Taekwon-Do practitioner, indomitable spirit is essential for their physical, spiritual, and moral development.

 

Student Oath

I shall observe the tenets of Taekwondo.I shall respect the instructor and seniors.

I shall be a champion of freedom and justice.

I shall build a more peaceful world.