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9-12-01

Meaning of the Student Oath

I shall observe the tenets of Tae Kwon Do.  These tenets will pervade all aspects of my life.  They are not assumed when I enter the door of the school and discarded when I exit.  TKD makes you examine how you live your life and the beliefs that guide your decisions and behaviors.  TKD becomes a way of life.

Each tenet focuses on an aspect of myself upon which I draw in my TKD journey:

Courtesy is an integral part of all my interactions with people.  No matter what their station in life, whether they are part of TKD or not, I will treat each person with courtesy.  This tenet can be hardest to implement for people who are abusive and derisive.  While I will still treat these people with courtesy, I will not let them intimidate me and prevent me from challenging their opinions.

Integrity is the most important tenet to me.  Integrity means that I stand by my principles and beliefs, even when those principles and belief are not in fashion, scorned by others, and I seem to be alone.  Integrity means being true to myself and to my beliefs at all time, letting my principles and beliefs guide my behavior and my decisions.

Perseverance is essential in TKD, since forms, kicks and stances are not mastered without much practice.  Perseverance is required to change beliefs and behaviors that have become ingrained and conflict with the tenets or student oath.  Lastly, TKD, as with all good things in life, require perseverance to become proficient.

Self-Control is required of students of TKD.  Not just self-control during classes and at the school, but in my daily interactions with others.  I must not provoke others because I possess the ability to use TKD, but rather serve as a peacemaker.  The self-control that I practice in the school eventually becomes a part of my daily life.

Indomitable Spirit means that I refuse to be conquered or to give up no matter what obstacles come my way.  There will be times when I have difficulty mastering some TKD technique; at those times I will draw on my indomitable spirit to prevail.  At times, I may experience disappointment, pain, tragedy in life and people who I trust and love may let me down.  These experiences are part of life – what distinguishes students of TKD is that they refuse to let these time crush their spirit.

I shall respect my instructors and seniors.  I recognize that have much to learn from these people.  They have trodden the path I am walking and have learned from that experience.   When they offer suggests or correct me, I will welcome their input and embrace it.  It is not my place to question them; they have earned my respect because they have practiced, sweated, worked, and struggled to get to they place they now hold.

I shall never misuse Tae Kwon Do.  TKD is a gift to be treated with respect.  It is not used to show off, to intimidate others, to hurt others.  TKD is a means to promote peace, to protect the weak and defenseless, and to make myself stronger both mentally and physically.  While my self-esteem and confidence will be bolstered by what I learn, I must be careful never to let those qualities turn into arrogance and conceit.

I will be a champion of freedom and justice.  TKD gives me one means to protect the weak and helpless and to confront those people who would threaten other and/or attempt to deprive another of his/her rights.  Confrontation does not have to physical (although in life-threatening circumstance it may have to be physical), but it can be verbal.  We can speak up and confront beliefs and behaviors that threaten the freedom and justice of others.

I will build a more peaceful world.  I will model actions and behaviors that contribute to a peaceful world.  I will be courteous, respectful, strong, guided by my own inner beliefs and goals, and take specific actions to leave the world a better place than I found it.  Few people can make the changes in the world that Abraham Lincoln or Mother Teresa did; yet everyone can do something to improve at least one person’s life.