02 Jul 2019

Tenets of Tae Kwon Do:

  • Courtesy
  • Integrity
  • Perseverance
  • Self-Control
  • Indomitable Spirit
  • Victory

This month we will explore the first of six Tenets of Tae Kwon Do and how it applies to martial arts and life in general:  Courtesy

According to the Merriam Webster Online Dictionary, the definition of Courtesy is as follows:

Definition of courtesy

  • 1a: behavior marked by polished manners or respect for others: courteous behavior
  • b: a courteous and respectful act or expression

In the realm of traditional martial arts, courtesy is one of the foremost attributes a student will learn.  And I believe that is why it is the first tenet.

Students learn to salute and bow. Before entering their studio (dojang or dojo) they salute the flags and bow to show respect to the flags of the country they live in and the country of origin of the martial art they practice.  The same must be done as the students leave the studio.  In our case, it is the American flag and the flag of the Republic of Korea. Students will bow to their instructors and peers, and answer “yes sir” or “yes ma’am”.

Students learn to look, listen and learn, and raise their hands before asking or answering a question. Thus also learning patience along with good manners and courtesy.

We know students are taught to be courteous and respectful at home, but those values are reinforced through the martial arts.  Children, teens, and adults learn to respect people of all ages, they learn to respect authority, and they learn to respect themselves by holding themselves to a high standard. They learn to present themselves as respectable people, to be proud of their accomplishments, and to have a high work ethic.  Being respectful of themselves causes other people to treat them with respect.

Students will begin to hold doors open, to lend a hand to someone who may need help.  The manners they learn at home are reinforced by saying “thank you” when they receive a compliment, an honor, or a new rank.  As instructors, we remind students that courtesy and respect to their parents and family members is always the most important.

In this day and age where social media is blurring the lines between being respectful and courteous, with treating one another casually and with less than lustrous manners, training at a traditional martial arts school, like Ajay’s Karate, is a great way to reinforce courtesy and respect that is learned at home.  Sometimes what is taught at home just needs to be repeated by a teacher or it needs to be heard by a different voice to make an impact.  We are happy to be that voice.  Call us today to see for yourself, what we do at Ajay’s Karate! (916) 686-3478.


By Lydia Ajay, 4th Degree Black Belt and Co-Owner of Ajay’s Karate, Elk Grove, California.

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