There is an old song that says “If you don’t stand for something, then you will fall for anything”. In the early part of the 10th century in Korea there was a group of young men called the Hwa Rang who trained in Tae Kwon Do and used this training to unify the three dynasties of Korea. In doing so, they defined an oath that all Tae Kwon Do practitioners will stand for. The oath that they wrote has stood the test of time and is still is applicable to students of Tae Kwon Do today. Lets break it down
I WILL OBEY THE RULES OF TAE KWON DO
What are the rules? Well, as soon as you walk into the Dojang for the first time, you learn certain rules, such as respectfully bowing to the flags and instructors as you enter. You learn the tenets of Tae Kwon Do. As you continue to return to the Dojang in training, you learn more expectations or rules. This first statement of the Oath of Tae Kwon Do commits you to obeying the rules that you have learned so far in your training.
I WILL RESPECT ALL INSTRUCTORS AND SENIOR RANKS
This must be read carefully and fully understood. This phrase states that every student is to show respect to the instructor (who is senior rank), and other senior ranks. In doing so you are showing respect to the rank. It doesn’t matter if you respect the character of the person wearing the senior rank, you are showing respect to the rank the person is wearing. This is why you can walk into another dojang or a tournament and show respect to the senior ranks even if you have never met them before. Respect the Rank !
I WILL NEVER MISUSE TAE KWON DO
The techniques that you learn in your Tae Kwon Do training can be very dangerous if used improperly. The power that you learn to generate with your body, can also be dangerous and must be controlled. Even your mental conditioning and focus can be misused in powerful ways. For the senior students, as you grow in rank, you receive a growing level of respect. The rank you hold has a power within the dojang. This should never be misused over/against other students of lower rank.
I WILL STRIVE TO BUILD A MORE PEACEFUL WORLD
This may sound like ancient phrasing applicable to the Hwa Rang back in the 10th century when Korea was three dynasties at war. But, it can be extremely applicable today, in a new way. Of course no one person can single handedly build a peaceful world, but, just like the old saying says; “How do you eat an elephant?”… Yes, “One bite at a time.” We all have our own little piece of this world in which we live. If we do what we can to keep peace in our piece of the world, then we have done our part of building a more peaceful world. Don’t under estimate your influence in the community. Your actions today may have a ripple effect may last generations. Start the ripple effect!
I WILL BE A CHAMPION OF FREEDOM
Similar to the previous statement, this was obviously applicable as the Hwa Rang was trying to bring three dynasties of Korea together and create a more peaceful Korea. However how does it apply today. In our world we don’t see dynasties fighting, but, we do see factions of other sorts. Think about it. I think you can come up with ‘groups’ ‘organizations’ ‘personalities’ that unfairly treat others. Again, we influence the environment around us. We can cause positive change and help bring these factions together in our piece of the world. It could be as simple as refusing to give in to pressures to follow the wrong cause.
So, as you raise your right hand and repeat The Oath of Tae Kwon Do in the Dojang, think about what you are saying… Understand what you are saying… Believe in what you are saying… and stand for something.