Mar 12
Last Updated on 15 August 2017

Explanation of Tenets in Detail

Written by John Cuddy | 13 April 2000

Explanation of tenets and their importance to martial art etiquette

The tenets of Tae Kwon-Do should serve as a guide for all serious students of martial art

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

  1. To promote the spirit of mutual concessions.
  2. To be ashamed of one’s vice contempting that of others.
  3. To be polite to one another.
  4. To encourage the sense of justice.
  5. To distinguish the instructor form student and senior form junior.

INTEGRITY   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 from wrong, and have the conscience, if wrong, to feel guilt.  Listed are some examples, where integrity is lacking:

  1. The instructor who misrepresents himself or herself and the art by presenting improper techniques to students because of a lack of knowledge or apathy.
  2. The student who misrepresents himself or herself by “fixing” breaking materials before demonstrations.
  3. The instructor who camouflages bad techniques with luxurious training halls and false flattery to her or his 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 that teaches and promotes the art for self materialistic gain.

PERSEVERANCE  There is an old Oriental saying, “Patience leads to virtue or merit.”  Another is, “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 a goal and then constantly persevere.  Robert Bruce learned his lesson of perseverance from observing the persistent efforts of a spider to build a web and keep a web intact day after day. It was this perseverance and tenacity that finally enabled him to free Scotland in the fourteenth century.  One to the most important secrets in becoming a leader of Tae Kwon-Do is to overcome every difficulty by perseverance.  Perseverance tempers technique, making technique durable and solid.   A lack of perseverance in the development of technique will make technique fragile and not long lasting.

SELF -CONTROL  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  “Here lie 300, who did their duty.”  A simple epitaph for one of the greatest acts of courage known to humankind.  Although facing the superior forces of the Persian king Xerxes, the Spartan king Leonides and his 300 Spartan soldiers fought the Persian hordes at Thermopylae. Leonides showed Xerxes the meaning of Indomitable Spirit.   Some historians estimate that the Persian army suffered 20,000 casualties.   The 300 Spartans never surrendered and fought valiantly against several hundred thousand Persian soldiers until all were killed in battle. Leonides and the 300 Spartans heroism inspired the allied Greek city states to ultimately defeat the Persian invasion.  A serious student of martial art will be courageous and stand by his or her principles even when pitted against overwhelming odds and will at all times be modest and honest.