The Tenets of Tae Kwon Do… (more than words)

CourtesyIntegrityPerseveranceSelf-ControlIndomitable SpiritThe Tenets of Tae Kwon Do are usually found hung somewhere in the Dojang of every school.  They are five simple words/phrases that are required to be memorized by all students as early as yellow belt.   But are they really just five simple phrases?   No….


What really is courtesy?  Courtesy is pausing….. Pausing and recognizing the needs of another.  Then acting on that need somehow.    Courtesy embodies the conscious, intentional and thoughtful action to address the need of another.   Actions as minor as a simple glance; a smile; a spoken word that speaks to the inner need of another.   Being courteous to others, will then prompt others to in turn be courteous.    It is said, “Bread that is cast into the waters,  will someday return to feed us.”   Think about it.  If the everyone was truly courtious, wouldn’t the world would be a better place?


Integrity starts with a strong awareness of what is right and what is wrong.  Then the strength to live according to that inherent understanding regardless of the pressures to lead you astray.   Living with Integrity is to be immune to the pressures that pull a person in the direction of doing the wrong thing, and having the courage to stand up for what is right.


Perseverance is the strong will to intentionally progress toward a goal despite difficulties and obstacles.   It is a powerful combination of stubbornness (refusing to give up) and the patience to continue no mater how slowly, toward a goal.  We have all heard that ‘Patience is a virtue’.  Confucius once added to that by saying “One who is impatient in trivial matters can seldom achieve success in matters of great importance.”


Self-Control is a very important foundational Tenets.   It is a level of self-awareness that recognize one’s physical state and emotional state.   It is the ability to analyze that state and take full control over it.  This is more than controlling the body.  This starts with controlling the mind.  The mind controls the body, therefore the mind must be fully control.  The person who has mastered self-control has an awareness of the mental state, be it emotions or attitude, and has the ability to control that states and align it with what is right and wrong.   It is a form of conquering oneself.   It is said “He who conquers himself is the greatest warrior.”

Indomitable Spirit:

Indomitable Spirit is the ability to fearlessly, with integrity and perseverance, face overwhelming odds.   The person who is unafraid and refuses to backdown from injustice.   The story of David and Goliath is the epitome of this concept.   David, a small boy, fearlessly fought Goliath, a giant, because he knew he was right and Goliath was wrong.

So the next time you are in your Dojang (or someone else’s) and you see the Tenets of Tae Kwon Do hung on the wall, stop and take a moment to consider the significance of these 5 simple phrases.


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