Martial Arts is steeped in tradition and principles. People are often drawn to the practice based on this adherence to a high moral code of conduct. Students are expected to follow this moral standard both inside and outside the dojang. At Summit Martial Arts, we ask all our students to conduct themselves in a way that is becoming of a true martial artist. It is not enough to simply learn the movements, one must embody all the tenets of Tae Kwon Do that have been taught for generations before them. Our instructors consider each student’s ability to follow these “rules” when determining readiness for belt promotion or leadership training. Today, we will discuss the 5 tenets of Tae Kwon Do and what it means for us as martial artists.
Courtesy by definition: The showing of politeness in one’s attitude and behaviour towards others.
What does this mean for our martial arts practice: It means showing respect to your instructors and fellow students by being on time for class, bowing when entering and leaving the dojang, bowing to black belts as they enter and leave the dojang – you are showing courtesy and respect for their earned rank, standing at attention when speaking to a black belt, always listening to your instructor when he or she is speaking, always addressing instructors with the appropriate title (Master, Mr. or Mrs – please ask if you are unsure), being respectful to your senior ranks and courteous to your junior ranks, it is important to be patient and kind to our junior ranks – you set the example for them, do not interrupt or talk when an instructor is speaking, being respectful of your fellow students training time and the instructors time, be polite – always.
Integrity by definition: The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.
What does this mean for our martial arts training: the best way to think of integrity is to always do the right thing. If you are asked for 25 push ups, you do 25, not 23. If you commit to something, see it through. Always be honest with yourself and others, dishonesty is never rewarded.
For Summit Martial Arts, maintaining our integrity is of the utmost importance. Our students are a representation of what we teach. We take this seriously. We teach our techniques properly before we move on, we do not promote unless a student is ready, we do not reward ego or unsportsmanlike conduct, we set the example.
Perseverance by definition: Persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success
What does that mean for our martial arts training: this tenet can be applied to any goal a student would like to reach both inside and outside the dojang. If you are looking to achieve your Black Belt, you must persevere to achieve this milestone. To persevere means pushing yourself when you feel like quitting, pushing yourself to practice when no one else is watching, doing what ever it takes to achieve your goals.
4. Self Control
Self Control by definition: The ability to control oneself, in particular one’s emotions and desires, especially in difficult situations
What does this mean for our martial arts training: Self control is extremely important inside and outside the dojang, whether conducting oneself in sparring or in your own personal life. A loss of self control in sparring can cause great harm to both student and opponent. Senior students should control their ego and not feel the need to dominate or “show up” less experienced students. As Lao Tzu says ““The best fighter is never angry.”
Self control in one’s own life can be crucial at home, at work and in public. Controlling our emotions is a skill – one that can be honed with practice and determination. Remember, Tae Kwon Do is an art based in self defence and should only be used as when absolutely necessary.
“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
5. Indomitable Spirit
Indomitable Spirit by definition: a spirit that cannot be subdued or overcome; unconquerable
What does that mean for our martial arts practice: any martial artist must possess an indomitable spirit in order to develop their physical, spiritual and moral character. This spirit helps you to persevere through seemingly insurmountable obstacles, it keeps you going, it pushes you through mental and physical exhaustion, it cannot be crushed, it tells you to try again if you fail, to pick yourself up when you are down, to keep practising, and it pushes you to face your fears. This indomitable spirit will push you to be the BEST you can be.
What do the 5 Tenets of Tae Kwon Do mean to you? Think about this as you go about your daily life and be mindful in your training. We should spend time reflecting on these principles as they are the most important part of being a true martial artist.