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Philosophy of Taekwondo

The purpose of taekwondo is not to learn how to kill. Some people look at martial arts and say "I wish I knew martial arts. Then I could beat everyone in a fight." This is not what martial arts are for, however. Once someone begins their study of martial arts, they usually begin to understand and learn the real philosophy and ethics of martial arts.

In taekwondo, there are five principles practitioners need to focus on.

1. Etiquette/Courtesy
2. Modesty
3. Perseverance
4. Self-Control
5. Indomitable Spirit

Etiquette/Courtesy , 여의

Taekwondo originated with a strong military backround. If you read the history of taekwondo, you learned the Hwarang were noblemen who used martial arts to defend themselves against attack. They had a code of honor.

1. Serve your lord
2. Serve your parents
3. Trust your friends
4. Never withdraw from battle
5. When taking a life, be selective

The modern commandments of taekwondo stem from these. You should be able to recognize some similarities.

1. Be loyal to your country
2. Respect your parents
3. Be faithful to your spouse
4. Respect your siblings
5. Be loyal to your friends
6. Respect those older than you
7. Respect your teachers
8. Never take life when it isn't needed
9. Have a strong spirit, or invincible spirit
10. Be loyal to your school
11. Always finish something you begin

As you can see, loyalty and respect play a big role in martial arts.

Modesty/Integrity , 염치

This principle of taekwondo deals with how you interact with people. Although a practitioner may be a better fighter than his or her opponent, they shouldn't boast about it. The practitioner should maintain himself and be honest and good, and humble himself earning respect.

Perseverance , 인내

Practitioners of taekwondo should be very persistant in what they do. They should challenge themselves to self-improvement. Always strive to improve your physical body as well as your mind. When you do start something, finish it. Go all the way. The rewards will be great.

Self-Control , 극기

Self-Control is a very valuable lesson to learn. Learning self control is beneficial in many ways. Mentally, if you are in control, then you will be in charge of your own life. But also, you will learn to control your temper, not get angry, be respectful in hard situations, among others.

Physically, you learn control of your body. You will learn to throw a punch full force and stop an inch away from the target, as well as with kicks. You will learn to practice effectively but also safely, controlling the situation.

Indomitable Spirit , 백절불굴

The final principle of taekwondo is possibly one of the most helpful. You learn to have a spirit that cannot be beaten. When there is a tough situation, you can handle it and know you will be able to handle it. This is helpful in all parts of life. This final principle will help you to enjoy life and everything that comes with it.

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