Tenets of Taekwondo

In Taekwondo, there are several principles, or Tenets, to which students are to adhere -- not only in the dojang (school), or only while training, but in life.  The Tenets of Taekwondo deal with the fundamental elements of etiquette. They should serve as a guide for all students of the art. Each of the Tenets are just as important as every other and do not stand alone, but coexist with each other.


Courtesy (Ye yitenets-courtesy


Showing courtesy to all, respecting others, having manners as well as maintaining the appropriate etiquette at all times, both within and outside the dojang (school).

  • To be polite to one another
  • To be humble and respectful
  • To be modest and unassuming
  • To encourage the sense of justice

Within the school, one is naturally expected to be courteous to one's instructors and seniors; but it must go further than that. It must also include others of the same rank, regardless of their age or ability relative to yours. It must include those of a junior rank, since the relationship between juniors and seniors involves mutual respect, in both directions. Ultimately, it must also extend beyond the school to anyone with whom one comes into contact in the course of one's life.


Integrity (Yom chi)  tenets-integrity


In Taekwondo, integrity means not only to determine what is right or wrong but also having the conscience to feel guilt if one has done wrong and to have the integrity stand up for what is right.  Being able to define right from wrong and have the conscience, if wrong, to feel guilt.

  • To be honest and sincere
  • To be upright and have a sense of justice
  • To be able to distinguish right from wrong
  • To have good conscience
  • To have a sense of guilt

There are many words that could be used to describe one who has integrity.  Someone with integrity adheres to moral and ethical principles.

Perseverance (In Naetenets-perseverance


Steady persistence in a course of action or purpose, in spite of difficulties, obstacles or discouragement.  Taekwondo training is physically demanding, and learning the techniques properly requires a lot of repetition. When one starts learning a particular technique or pattern, it will probably be difficult at first; so one must persevere through the time and practice required to master it, and not be discouraged.

  • To be able to overcome and endure
  • To be steadfast in purpose
  • To be persistent regardless of obstacles
  • To have the attitude of not giving up easily

Without perseverance one will not progress well in the art. It takes perseverance to have an indomitable spirit.

Self-Control (Guk Gi)  tenets-self control


A serious student must learn not to be impatient, to continue steadfastly and to persevere.  Conducting oneself with control whether inside or outside the dojang (school).  An ability to work within one's capabilities.

  • Go have total control of oneself mentally, physically & emotionally
  • To have control over ones desires and actions
  • To have the ability to live and work within the panorama of the self

Taekwondo is not to be used for aggression, but for defense. This is one reason why a student of Taekwondo must learn self-control while he/she is learning techniques. In class, physical self-control is vital to avoid accidentally harming one's self or one's fellow students.

Indomitable Spirit (Baekjul Boolgooltenets-indomitable spirit


Modest and honest.  If confronted with an injustice, a student will deal with the belligerent without any fear or hesitation, regardless of whosoever and however many the number will be.
One may not always succeed on the first try at everything that one attempts in Taekwondo, or in life.

  • To have a spirit that will not die
  • To not be easily discouraged
  • To not be easily defeated or subdued
  • To have everlasting positive courage

The indomitable spirit has the courage and confidence to try again and not be subdued or overcome in the face of fear or failure. The indomitable spirit perseveres.