Courtesy  —  Courtesy means that one show respect and be polite and kind. A martial artist treats others as he or she would want to be treated.

Tae Kwon-Do students should attempt to practice the following elements of etiquette:

To promote the spirit of mutual concessions. To be ashamed of one’s vice condemning that of others. To be polite to one another. To encourage the sense of justice. To distinguish the instructor from student and senior from junior.

Integrity  —  Integrity means to be honest with yourself and others and know what is right and wrong. To try to always do what is right, but if a mistake is made, admit it and make amends.

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 guilt. Listed are some examples where integrity is lacking:

  1. 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.
  2. The instructor that teaches and promotes his art for materialistic gains.
Perseverance —  To have perseverance means to have a goal and to overcome obstacles along the way.  Perseverance means not giving up.  The spirit is to repeatedly try until success or the goal is reached.

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 his 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.

Self Control  —  Self-Control means being responsible and exercising prudence — not to become excited or loose temper. It means act as if the Grand Master were watching you.

This tenet 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.

Indomitable Spirit  —  The martial arts fighting spirit is a way of facing life; not afraid to exercise what is right. It means to resist temptations and be strong minded.  It means to defend the rights of yourself and others.

“Here lie 300 who did their duty.” This is 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 his 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, he will deal with the belligerent without any fear or hesitation at all, and with indomitable spirit, regardless of whosoever and however many the number may be.

Modesty  —  Tae Kwon-Do students are expected to be humble about their accomplishments. Those who flaunt their achievements may have physical power, but their achievements are hollow, for they lack the spirit of Tae Kwon-Do. The Yin cannot exist without the Yang, so Tae Kwon-Do cannot exist without the Spirit.

This means being free of vanity and conceit. A student should not boast about merits or achievements.


Student Oath


I shall observe the tenets of Tae Kwon-Do.

I shall respect my instructors and seniors.

I shall never misuse Tae Kwon-Do.

I shall be a champion of freedom and justice.

I shall build a more peaceful world.