The philosophy of Taekwon Do is based upon constant striving for excellence. The goal is to become an honorable person with perfect character and physical condition. To realize the ultimate benefits of Taekwon Do, one must practice it daily and commit to it for a lifetime. Though none of these goals is absolutely attainable, the key is in one’s endeavors. In Taekwon Do, we honor five fundamental tenets of living. These should serve as a guide to all serious students of the art, both inside and outside of class.
Courtesy Students must show respect to their instructors, to higher ranking students and to all others. Students must be polite and encourage a sense of justice. Students must constantly look within themselves and not be quick to judge others. Show courtesy to your instructor and fellow students by arriving promptly for workout.
Integrity One must be able to define right and wrong and have the conscience, if wrong, to feel remorse. Within the do-jang, one must honestly attempt to do whatever the instructor asks. If you are asked to do 20 push-ups, do not do only 10 because the instructor is not watching you. Outside the do-jang, students must not misrepresent themselves or rationalize their behavior.
Perseverance Nothing of any true good comes easy. Perseverance and patience are required to excel at anything. Perseverance means sticking to it. If you fail the first time, or even the hundredth time, try again, confident that you will succeed as long as your purpose is worthy. Your instructor will inform you when it is time for your next promotion exam – do not ask.
Self Control This tenet is extremely important inside and outside the do-jang, either conducting oneself in free sparring or in one’s personal affairs. Good self-control in free sparring enables you to execute stunning techniques without injuring your partners. Good self-control in daily life allows you to work comfortably and confidently with others. There should be no unnecessary talking during workout. There is to be no food, drink (other than water) or gum chewing in the do-jang.
Indomitable Spirit Never be afraid to be yourself and trust your judgment. Indomitable spirit is what enables you to keep your ideals and your identity in the face of overwhelming pressures. It is the strength to reject the things that “everyone else is doing” if you believe them to be wrong.
The martial arts skills learned in Taekwon Do are to be used to prevent conflict and violence. Never should a Taekwon Do student initiate physical conflict, and the techniques of Taekwon Do should be used only as a last resort in self defense or in the defense of another person. Essentially, Taekwon Do students are expected to be model citizens and work for the betterment of their community.
These tenets are the most important aspects of Taekwon Do. Because they cannot be formally practiced in a classroom session in the manner of patterns or technique, it is up to the student to practice this way of approaching daily life on their own.