I've been trying and trying and trying to come up with some really deep, thoughtful, insightful things to say about the Student Oath, and thus far I've drawn a blank. The Oath is a wonderful thing, certainly. It's just that it seems to speak for itself.
"I shall observe the tenets of Tae
I shall respect my instructors and seniors.
I shall never misuse Tae Kwon Do.
I will be a champion of freedom and justice.
I will build a more peaceful world."
What more is there to say? Where does one even begin?
I have to start somewhere, though. Well... from a writing standpoint, the Student Oath is quite pleasant. It has a good rhythm, overall, and flows very well when recited. There's a nice little bit of alliteration in the first line - "the Tenets of Tae Kwon Do" - which makes for a strong beginning. The phrase "champion of freedom and justice" is a good, dramatic line which could conjure up pictures of either knights in shining armor or, as my mother said, of Mighty Mouse flying to the rescue... Well, at any rate, the point is that it sounds dramatic.
Well, that was somewhere to begin, at least. Still, I think I should probably go beyond a mere critique of the writing. It's just, as I said above, that there doesn't really seem to be much to say. It seems obvious, a fact of life as much as anything. Something which you would hope people would try to follow whether they studied martial arts or not. Ideally, at least.
But, of course, it's not a given everywhere. Particularly after the attack of the World Trade Center... it hit home just how relevant "I will build a more peaceful world" is just now. One of the things I appreciate most about the Student Oath is that it's a reminder that Tae Kwon Do is anything but violence. Much as I'd hope that I, and everyone else at the school, wouldn't actuallyneedthe Oath in order to remember that - it's certainly a good reminder of some very important things. And sometimes - like last Tuesday - it can be sort of reassuring to hear...
Compared to some recent events, a lot of other things seem pretty minor, but there are other things about the Oath that I'm quite fond of as well. I guess the biggest one is "I will respect my instructors and seniors." Some of my dance teachers over the years have thought me terribly weird for thanking them after class. It's nice to be someplace where a respect for learning is sort of built in to the structure of class, and I like the environment that goes along with that.
Hmm... now that I've actually gotten
started, I'm sure I had other things to day, and I'll probably think of them
several days after I hand this in. But for now that's all I have to say,
so now I just need to think of an ending. It's a pity I can't kihap