Tae Kwon-Do students should attempt to practice the following elements of courtesy in order to build their noble character and conduct their training in an orderly manner.
1) To promote the spirit of mutual concessions
2) To be aware of one’s vices, and work to overcome them
3) To be polite to one another
4) To encourage a sense of justice and humanity
5) To distinguish instructor from student, senior from junior, and elder from younger
6) To behave oneself according to etiquette
7) To respect others’ possessions
8) To handle matters with fairness and sincerity
9) To refrain from giving or accepting any gift when in doubt
In Tae Kwon-Do, the word integrity assumes a looser definition than the one usually presented in Webster’s dictionary. One must be able to define right and wrong and have the conscience, if wrong, to feel responsibility. Listed are some examples, where integrity is lacking.
1) The instructor who misrepresents themselves and the art by presenting improper technique because of a lack of knowledge or apathy
2) The student who misrepresents themselves by “fixing” breaking materials before demonstrations
3) The instructor who camouflages bad techniques with luxurious training halls and false flattery to their students
4) The student who requests rank from an instructor, or attempts to purchase it
5) The student who gains rank for ego purposes or the feeling of power
6) The instructor who teaches and promotes the art for materialistic gains
7) The student whose actions does not live up to their words
8) The student who feels ashamed to seek opinions from their juniors
There is an old Oriental saying, “Patience leads to virtue or merit”, “One can make a peaceful home by being patient for 100 times.” Certainly, 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 their goal, then constantly persevere. Robert Bruce learned his lesson of perseverance from the persistent efforts of a lowly spider. It was this perseverance and tenacity that finally enabled him to free Scotland in the fourteenth century. One of the most important secrets in becoming a leader of Tae Kwon-Do is to overcome every difficulty by perseverance. Confucius said; “one who is impatient in trivial matters can seldom achieve success in matters of great importance.”
This tenant is extremely important inside and outside the DoJang, 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. According to Lao-Tzu, the term “stronger” is the person who wins over oneself rather than someone else.”
“Here lie 300, who did their duty.” A simple epitaph for one of the greatest acts of courage known to mankind. Although facing the superior forces of Xerxes, Leonidas and his 300 Spartans at Thermopylae showed the world the meaning of indomitable spirit. It is shown when a courageous person and their principles are pitted against overwhelming odds. A serious student of Tae Kwon-Do will at all times be modest and honest. If confronted with injustice, they 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. Confucius declared; “it is an act of cowardice to fail to speak out against injustice.” As history has proven, those who have pursued their dreams earnestly and strenuously, with indomitable spirit, have never failed to achieve their goals.