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The Tenets of Tae Kwon Do

In Tae Kwon Do, there are several principles, or Tenets, to which students are to adhere -- not only in the dojang, or only while training, but in life. The Tenets are listed below in no particular order: each of the Tenets is just as important as every other. As with the Theory of Power, the principles listed here do not stand alone, but depend on each other.

Courtesy / Ye-ui / 예의

Within the school, one is naturally expected to be courteous to one's instructors and seniors; but it must go further than that. It must also include others of the same rank, regardless of their age or ability relative to yours. It must include those of a junior rank, since the relationship between juniors and seniors involves mutual respect, in both directions. Ultimately, it must also extend beyond the school to anyone with whom one comes into contact in the course of one's life.

Integrity / Yom-chi or Jeong-jik / 염치 or 정직

There are many words that could be used to describe one who has integrity: honest, upright, good, honourable, incorruptible, principled... Someone with integrity adheres to moral and ethical principles. A student of Tae Kwon Do adheres to the tenets listed here.

Perseverence / In-nae / 인내

Tae Kwon Do training is physically demanding, and learning the techniques properly requires a lot of repetition. When one starts learning a particular technique or pattern, it will probably be difficult at first; so one must persevere through the time and practice required to master it, and not be discouraged. Without perseverance, one will not progress well in the art. It takes perseverance to have an indomitable spirit.

Self-control / Geuk-gi / 극기

Tae Kwon Do is not to be used for agression, but for defense. This is one reason why a student of Tae Kwon Do must learn self-control while he/she is learning Tae Kwon Do techniques. In class, physical self-control is vital to avoid accidentally harming one's self or one's fellow students.

Indomitable spirit / Baek-jeol-bul-gul / 백절불굴

One may not always succeed on the first try at everything that one attempts in Tae Kwon Do, or in life. The indomitable spirit has the courage and confidence to try again and not be subdued or overcome in the face of fear or failure. The indomitable spirit perseveres. Sometimes this can be a challenge; training in Tae Kwon Do can help to develop it.

Community service / Sa-hui-bong-sa / 사회봉사

We are all part of communities. A student of Tae Kwon Do is a part of the Tae Kwon Do community; a person who lives in a neighborhood is part of a residential community; and every person is part of the community of Earth.

To be a good member of a community, one should participate and be of service. This might mean helping to keep the dojang clean, or helping a fellow student learn or practice a pattern or technique, or volunteering to help neighbors or others in need, or any one of hundreds of other opportunities for service.

Love / Sa-rang / 사랑

Love is a word that has many meanings. As a tenet of Tae Kwon Do, some would say that it embodies the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Since Tae Kwon Do is never to be used for agression, but only for defense, the application of "love" in Tae Kwon Do becomes clear: do not use your abilities to hurt others, but only to defend yourself or others if it is necessary. Treat others well, as you would wish to be treated.

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