Taekwondo Student Oath
At Stevens Family Taekwondo, our desire for our students is two-fold. Not only are we dedicated to develop strong, accomplished martial artists, but we are also invested in creating kind and capable human beings. We want our students to thrive in all areas of life, and that means reinforcing strong character traits. One of the ways we do that is by teaching our students about the Student Oath.
The first line of the Taekwondo Student Oath states, “I shall observe the Tenets of Taekwondo.” The tenets are “courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self control, indomitable spirit.” When a student observes these tenets, it means they are consistently considering how to instill those character concepts into their daily life. We understand that as humans, we may fail to always live up to our own expectations, but we must always try. This starts by keeping those concepts in the forefront of your mind.
“I shall respect my instructors and seniors.” We show others respect through courteous behavior, defaulting to using “sir” or “ma’am” and following directions with a good attitude. Our taekwondo or martial arts instructors are easy to identify. They are up leading the class. Certified instructors and assistants have gone through years of training and additional testing to achieve their status. However, the dojang is not the only place we have instructors. Parents, guardians, teachers at school, mentors, coaches… these are all people who help guide us to where we want to go. Seniors can be people older or younger. In the taekwondo world, senior typically refers to someone of a higher rank. Regardless of that person’s age or social stature, we want to give credence to the amount of hard work, hours of training time, and wisdom that person has displayed.
Conducting yourself in a way to earn respect is also imperative. It’s much easier to respect a leader who works just as hard as the team and leads by example. Investing time and effort in others builds their respect as well. It is just as important to be a person who deserves respect, as it is to be someone who shows respect to others.
Use and Misuse of Power
“I shall never misuse taekwondo.” This part of the oath is a priority. By participating in martial arts, a student is learning how to protect him/herself and others. Many of the techniques can also cause significant pain or damage. We do not take this lightly. We help our students develop an understanding of how and when it is appropriate to use what they have learned outside of class.
Misusing taekwondo includes using knowledge and skills to bully, intimidate, and belittle others. Threatening to start fights, bullying others, and other such behavior is unacceptable.
Freedom and Justice
“I will be a champion for freedom and justice.” To champion a cause is to be an active proponent for it. Freedom is a complex subject, but at its core, means the power of choice and ability to choose how to act, while respecting the law and the rights of others. We have the power to enact freedom and justice in our daily lives by ensuring that we treat others well.
An example for the kids: If your brother or sister gets in trouble for something you did, it’s not enacting justice to let them take the fall for your mistake.
“I will help build a more peaceful world.” It may seem counterintuitive to practice martial arts and combat, to be a fighter, in order to make the world a more peaceful place. Through rigorous training, martial artists can find a constructive way to overcome negative emotions. It builds the confidence to stand up for yourself and others, building layers of camaraderie and protection between those who are trying to live peacefully and those who seek to disrupt that way of life.
There is a proverb that states, “It is better to be a warrior in a garden, than a gardener in a war.” We always pursue peace with other people, while having the confidence to know we can act decisively if necessary to protect ourselves and those who cannot defend themselves.