Tenets of Tae Kwon Do
There are 5 tenets of Tae Kwon Do and it is in these values that the art of the sport emerges. The tenets are Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control, and Indomitable Spirit, but these tenets aren’t exclusive to the practice of Tae Kwon Do; they have great application in life. The world would be a better place if more people lived according to higher values such as these.
Courtesy or respect should be shown to instructors by bowing at the start and end of practice. Bowing should also be done when entering and leaving the practice room, signifying respect for the sanctity of the training area. Also, courtesy should be shown to fellow students by bowing before drills or sparring. This seems like a lot of bowing but it quickly becomes second nature. Courtesy should also be shown by being polite and not talking back to the instructor or to senior students. Also, it is important to help and appropriately challenge each other in training. Keep in mind that we don’t want to hurt or injure each other, but we should train with realistic force to get the most out of the experience. The more experienced, skilled and powerful we become the more important it is not to forget to be humble and courteous.
Martial arts practitioners are like Jedi Knights – they have to know the difference between the light and dark side of the Force. They should behave honorably and earn the trust and respect of others.
This is the determination and commitment to achieving your goals. It requires courage and tenacity to endure rigorous training. It is the drive for self-improvement, and the realization that practice and progress lead to perfection. Even black belts are forever students, striving for ways to improve – mastering a technique involves much more than knowing how to do it.
This involves knowing when and how to use techniques you have learned. The mind must be kept cool in a sparring match or in a real-life violent situation if techniques are to be effective. Loss of control or being overwhelmed by anxiety or anger could be disastrous. It is also important to know when not to use techniques. Violence should be a last resort – even a black belt in peak condition could have a slip or an unlucky day.
When you are close to the end of writing a paper, or working on a project or running a race and are feeling burnt out, what enables you to finish strong? How do you push yourself? A strong sense of spirit helps. When you are pushed to your limits and challenges seem impossible, having an indomitable spirit will help you overcome obstacles. It will help you overcome fears, break boards you think you can’t, face opponents you would otherwise back away from, stand up for what you believe in and rise up to any challenge. You will not fear loss.
Columbia University Tae Kwon Do