Monday, June 18, 2012

The Five

By Sally Morgan, 1st dan

There are five tenets of Taekwondo that we practice at the Colorado Taekwondo Institute. During the Silla Kingdom of Korean history, an organization was developed made up of youths from noble families.  This organization was known has the Hwarang, and to be considered for selection, the youth had to be a person of good character and virtue.  The Hwarang were taught arts, dance, literature and the sciences.  They were also trained as warriors in hand to hand combat in order to defend the Silla Kingdom form outside enemies.  The Hwarang warriors were responsible for the development of the Hwarang Code of Conduct from which the Five Tenets of Taekwondo were derived.

Definition:  Steadfast adherence to a strict moral and ethical code.  Honesty and loyality.
How it applies to Taekwondo:  In taekwondo we would never use dirty tactics to win at sparring or to make someone else look bad.  We would never intentionally harm a fellow student.  When implementing techniques in self-defense, emphasis is always placed on the use of only the force necessary to remove the immediate threat and then to get away from the situation.  There is a very fine line between being the defender and becoming the aggressor.  Integrity enables a martial artist not to cross that line.
How is applies outside of Taekwondo:  In everyday life, integrity means knowing right from wrong and always attempting to do the right thing in all situations.  We will come acrooss moments in our lives where we will have to choose to do what we believe to be right or not.  Sometimes doing the right thing is difficult. Integrity is standing up for what is right, even if at times you are standing alone.

Definition:  To persit in an endeavor or undertaking in spite of counter influeces, opposition or discouragement.  Dedication.
How it applies in Taekwondo:  It’s easy to see how this applies in Taekwondo.  We dedicate ourselves to practicing our basics, poomse, one steps and self-defense over and over again.  We continue to fine tune our skills no matter what level we are at.  When we believe we have finally mastered a certain technique, we come to realize how mush more we have to learn.  It’s perseverance that keeps us going.  When we are tired, sore and feel we can’t do another kick or strike, perseverance gives us that boost for one more, and one more!  Our goal is to strive to be better than we were yesterday and our dedication to this enables us to become a more proficient martial artist.
How it applies outside of Taekwondo:  We will face many different challenges in our everyday lives.  How we face these challenges will have much to do with our perseverance.  What do we do when we fail a test in school?  Do we simply give up or keep trying?  Using perseverance, we will strive to reach our goals, no matter the obstacles.

Definition:  Enduring respect for good consideration of self and others.  Politeness and humility.
How it applies in Taekwondo:  There are many ways we show courtesy in Taekwondo.  When we enter our school, we remove our shoes as a sign of respect.  We bow when we enter the work-out area and bow to our instructor before and after class.  Our instructor bows as well, showing respect for his or her students. We are taught to show courtesy to our fellow students by the example the upper belts and instructors give. We show courtesy by raising our hands in class before we speak and by listening to the lessons that are being taught.  Courtesy and respect are such a normal part of Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo, that we have to remember to not take it for granted.  As we become friends with our fellow students, it’s easy to fall into complacency with these displays of respect and courtesy.  We should always remember that our behavior towards one another is setting the example for those who come after us.
How it applies outside of Taekwondo:  It can be difficult at times to show the same courtesy and respect in everyday life as we do in Taekwondo.  Not everyone in society is respectful and courteous.  People cut us off in traffic, co-workers and school mates can be rude, and even family members can take their bad day out on us.  It’s easy to lash out when faced with less than appropriate behavior by someone else.  However, the best way to diffuse anger is through kindness.  Put the “pay it forward” approach into action.  Inspire someone by showing courtesy and respect.  They then may inspire someone else, and so on.  Being polite, even in the face of adversity requires great self-control, which brings us to our next tenet.

Self Control
Definition:  The ability of a person to exert their will over the inhibitions, impulses, emotions or desires of their body or self.  Patience and Discipline.
How it applies in Taekwondo:  This means a number of things in Taekwondo.  One being, paying attention at all times in class.  Remaining focus no matter what is happening around you.  It also means practice, practice, practice.  We should always practice outside of Taekwondo on or basics, poomse, one-steps and self-defense.  When we receive criticism by our instructors, how do we react?  Does our attitude become poor, or do we focus on what we are being told, apply it, so we can become a better martial artist.
How it applies outside of Taekwondo:  It can be difficult to come to class after a long tiring day.  Our lives are busy and it would be easy to make excuses for not being there.  When we discipline ourselves to push past the desire to stay  home or do something else instead, we end up feeling better physically and mentally. Outside of our training, it can be tempting to lash out at family member  or a friend when they do something that makes us angry.  Even having the discipline to not have that 2nd can of coke or that 2nd piece of cake, can be really hard.  But if we can keep in mind that having that self-control will only make our lives better, we will stay on the right path and be successful in what we do.

Indomitable Spirit
Definition:  Having the right attitude and maintaining inner strength regardless of winning or losing.  Not allowing one’s principles to be broken, defeated or conquered.  Bravery and Courage.
How it applies in Taekwondo:  Do you have the will to train, even when you are tied?  Do you keep pushing hard for the next tournament, even if at the last one you did not win?  Indomitable Spirit radiates from the heart.  You probably know someone who has indomitable spirit.  What is it about them that brings out their spirit.  Are they positive?  When they are in class, do they have loud kihaps?  Do you see them pushing so hard, that the sweat is dripping off their body.  Have that spirit in your training.  Ask any athlete in any sport and they will tell you, it’s the spirit that separates the good from the great!  Your spirit alone can push you to the next level.
How it applies outside of Taekwondo:  We all have faced challenges in our lives and will probably have more challenges in the future.  Indomitable spirit alone can play a big part in helping to see you through many life-changing events.  People who look at the worlld with a positive attitude tend to lead much happier lives.  It’s the will to not give up when faced with advirsity,  that is at the heart of an indomitable spirit.  It cannot be measured, but it can be inspiritational.

No matter what your personal preferences or beliefs may be, adhering to the Five Tenets of Taekwondo will greatly assist you in your efforts to strive for new goals and achieve those goals.  You will be a better person and will set a powerful example for those who follow.

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