The Tenets of Taekwondo

In Taekwondo, 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. The principles listed here do not stand alone, but depend on each other.

Courtesy (Ye-ui)

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)

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

Perseverance (In-nae)

Martial Art 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. 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)

Taekwondo is not to be used for aggression, but for defense. This is one reason why a student of Taekwondo must learn self-control while he/she is learning Taekwondo 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)

One may not always succeed on the first try at everything that one attempts in martial arts, 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; Taekwondo can help to develop it.