The philosophy of Taekwon-Do can be summed up by the last two phrases in the ITF Student Oath:
I shall be a champion of freedom and justice.
I shall build a more peaceful world.
By practicing Taekwon-Do and living according to its fundamental values, we will become good citizens and be able to create a better world. The development of the Taekwon-Do
philosophy by our Founder General Choi Hong Hi was influenced by oriental philosophers such as Confucius and Lao Tzu, by Buddhism,
and by the philosophy of martial arts. However, the fundamental values as expressed in the tenets of Taekwon-Do, are universal. In the Encyclopedia of Taekwon-Do, General Choi
showed us how to find a harmonious balance between the physical and the mental.
The Tenets Of TaeKwon-Do Needless to say, the success or failure of Taekwon-Do training depends largely on how one observes and implements the tenets of Taekwon-Do which should
serve as a guide for all serious students of the art.
COURTESY (Ye Ui)
It can be said that courtesy is an unwritten regulation prescribed by ancient teachers of philosophy as a means to enlighten human beings while maintaining a harmonious society. It can
be further be as an ultimate criterion required of a mortal. Taekwon-Do students should attempt to practice the following elements of courtesy to build up their noble character and to conduct
the training in an orderly manner as well.
1) To promote the spirit of mutual concessions
2) To be ashamed of one's vices, contempting those of others
3) To be polite to one another
4) To encourage the sense of justice and humanity
5) To distinguish instructor from student, senior from junior, and elder from younger
6) To behave oneself according to etiquette
7) To respect others' possessions
8) To handle matters with fairness and sincerity
9) To refrain from giving or accepting a gift when in doubt
INTEGRITY (Yom Chi)
In Taekwon-Do, the word integrity assumes a looser definition than the one usually presented in Webster's dictionary. One must be able to define right and wrong and have a conscience,
if wrong, to feel guilt. Listed are some examples where integrity is lacking:
1) The instructor who misrepresents himself and his art by presenting improper techniques to his students because of a lack of knowledge or apathy.
2) The student who misrepresents himself by "fixing" breaking materials before demonstrations.
3) The instructor who camouflages bad technique with luxurious training halls and false flattery to his students.
4) The student who requests ranks from an instructor, or attempts to purchase it.
5) The student who gains rank for ego purposes or the feeling of power.
6) The instructor who teaches and promotes his art for materialistic gains.
7) The students whose actions do not live up to his words.
8) The student who feels ashamed to seek opinions from his juniors.
PERSEVERANCE (In Nae)
There is an old Oriental saying, "Patience leads to virtue or merit, One can make a peaceful home by being patient for 100 times." Certainly happiness and prosperity are most
likely brought to the patient person. To achieve something, whether it is a higher degree or the perfection or a technique, one must set his goal, then constantly persevere. Robert Bruce
learned his lesson of perseverance from the persistent efforts of a lowly spider. It was this perseverance and tenacity that finally enabled him to free Scotland in the fourteenth century.
One of the most important secrets in becoming a leader of Taekwon-Do is to overcome every difficulty by perseverance. Confucius said, "one who is impatient in trivial matters can seldom
achieve success in matters of great importance."
SELF CONTROL (Guk Gi)
This tenet is extremely important inside and outside the dojang, whether conducting oneself in free sparring or in one's personal affairs. A loss of self-control in free sparring can
prove disastrous to both student and opponent. An inability to live and work within one's capability or sphere is also a lack of self-control. According to Lao-Tzu "the term of stronger is the
person who wins over oneself rather than someone else."
INDOMITABLE SPIRIT (Baekjool Boolgool)
"Here lie 300, who did their duty," a simple epitaph for one of the greatest acts of courage known to mankind. Although facing the superior forces of Xerxes, Leonidas and his 300
Spartans at Thermoplylae showed the world the meaning of indomitable spirit. It is shown when a courageous person and his principles are pitted against overwhelming odds. A serious student
of Taekwon-Do will at all times be modest and honest. If confronted with injustice, he will deal with the belligerent without any fear or hesitation at all, with indomitable spirit, regardless
of whosoever and however many the number may be. Confucius declared," It is an act of cowardice to fail to speak out against injustice." As history has proven, those who have pursued their
dreams earnestly and strenuously with indomitable spirit have never failed to achieve their goals.
TaeKwon-Do and Mental Effect
Taekwon-Do is an art that implies a way of thinking and life, and particularly in instilling moral civilization and generating the power for justice.
Taekwon-Do is also known as one of the best means of developing and enhancing the emotional, perceptual and psychological characteristics that enable the younger generation, regardless of age,
social status or sex, to effectively learn and participate in the social demands of his peers.
Every movement of Taekwon-Do is scientifically designed with specific purpose and a skilful instructor may, therefore, develop in the student a belief that success is possible for anyone.
Constant repetition teaches patience and the resolve to overcome any difficulty.
The tremendous power generated from one's body develops the self-confidence to meet any opponent, at any place, and in any situation.
Sparring teaches humility, courage, alertness and accuracy, adaptability as well as self-control.
Pattern teaches flexibility, grace, balance and coordination, while the fundamental exercises develop precision and teaches the method, principle, imagination and purpose.
Eventually, this training permeates every conscious and subconscious action of the student.
By A. Franks, Condensed Encyclopedia 1999
Today, the enormous popularity of Taekwon-Do has created imitators, and whilst at times imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, in the case of Taekwon-Do this is definitely not true.
To imitate without full knowledge of the original is dangerous. It is somewhat akin to allowing a child to play with a toy gun then giving him a real gun and expecting the child to understand
the difference, without giving him the knowledge of the function and effect of a real gun. gun and expecting the child to understand the difference, without giving him the knowledge of the
function and effect of a real gun.
In most instances of imitation, the imitator simply mimics the original without any change. Usually, this does not cause any harm provided the one who imitates
does not change the original (in this case Taekwon-Do) by unproven additional techniques, interpretations, philosophy, terminology or systems and methods.
It is when unauthorized changes to the original act of Taekwon-Do take place that these imitators create a highly dangerous and eroding influence upon the concept of Taekwon-Do.
Dangerous, because it gives to the students of the imitators a sense of mastery of techniques which is completely unfounded in knowledge of the true martial art of Taekwon-Do.
Dangerous, because a student may become a teacher and all unknowingly imparts his false techniques to others, thus compounding the error of false knowledge. This will lead to an erosion of
confidence by serious students in Taekwon-Do as a proven martial art.
Confusion has recently arisen by the use of the terminology "TAEKWON-DO, THE KOREAN ART OF SELF DEFENCE". I emphasize the word Korean.
Today, in the Republic of South Korea, it is becoming the practice to indiscriminately apply the word Taekwon-Do to an imitation of the real original Korean martial art.
General Choi Hong Hi created, developed, and introduced the art of Taekwon-Do in 1946, in what is now known as the Republic of South Korea. It is true that General Choi was born in Korea and
at the time of developing and introducing Taekwon-Do he resided there. It is also true that the basis of Taekwon-Do goes back to the ancient past of Korea but to call Taekwon-Do purely Korean
is somewhat like one country claiming to have introduced fire.
The true Taekwon-Do of General Choi knows no boundaries of countries; it is a universal art of self-defence. It is also an art for which the author of this textbook has devoted his life not
only to retain the purity of the original Taekwon-Do introduced by him in 1946, but also to constantly search for ways of improving the original techniques. Only after exhaustive research and
proof of improvement and effectiveness is a change to the original approved and incorporated within the overall art of Taekwon-Do.
This new revised edition is proof of General Choi's tenacity of dedication to keeping the original Taekwon-Do free from unproved imitations, and with the co-operation of all true Taekwon-Do
students, no matter what grade, weed out those who seek to destroy his teachings.