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7-27-02

    The Tae Kwon Do Student Oath is recited at the commencement of every class. At first, it may appear to be a rote routine or a practice of tradition. However, they are statements that are highly revered and carried out daily by the students and instructors that recite them.

    The first statement of the Student Oath reads, "I shall observe the tenets of Tae Kwon Do". The Tenets consist of five powerful qualities: courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and indomitable spirit.

    Courtesy is something that is lacking dangerously in this world. Very rarely do we ever see acts of genuine courtesy for reasons that some sort of favor is generally expected in return. Throughout my on going journey in Tae Kwon Do, being courteous to one another is strictly enforced in the dojang. However, this is not accomplished by raised voices or nasty glares, it is embodied by senior students and instructors by displaying it in and outside of class.

    The Merriam-Webster definition for integrity is "the firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values". This definition perfectly describes the application of integrity to the martial arts discipline.

    Perseverance has had an impact of immeasurable magnitude on my life. Being a teenager, it is very easy to lose sight of the wonderful "big picture" ahead of me. For this reason I remind myself to persevere and power through the struggles in my life. Whoever spoke the phrase, "If at first you don't succeed...try, try again" most definitely knew shat they were talking about. Not losing sight of that "big picture" is one of the major keys to gaining the strength to persevere.

    Self-control is very important to observe. We are training in a very powerful art that must be treated with the utmost respect. Having self-control means something different to everyone, but to me it applies directly to my emotions. Depression is a disease that I am personally involved with, and being able to calm myself and come back to the chaotic place called life is an ability that stems directly from being involved in a martial arts environment.

    Having an indomitable spirit allows me to rise above hateful words and actions. It also allows women as a whole to fight against the ever-present oppressions of gender discrimination. This spirit is like having a fire deep inside that no one could ever extinguish.

    Observing the Tenets of Tae Kwon Do grows with the student as she grows intellectually as a martial artist.

    The second statement of the Student Oath reads, "I shall respect my instructors and seniors". Respecting instructors and seniors is of importance not only inside the dojang, but outside as well. Whether we the "generation X" are willing to admit it or not, our instructors and seniors have paved the way to new freedoms we now enjoy. They have also helped mold and guide us to be the best martial artists and members of society that we can be. This privilege has not come to us without sacrifice and for that we should be truly thankful.

    The third statement of the Student Oath reads, "I will never misuse Tae Kwon Do". Tae Kwon Do is an incredibly powerful gift handed down to students by instructors stemming from places all over the world. As I have mentioned many times before, respect plays an important role in not conducting oneself in a way that would misuse the art. It is a privilege for us to have the resources to study Tae Kwon Do in order to protect ourselves, to protect others, to get in shape, and to gain a higher level of awareness.

    The fourth and fifth statements of the Student Oath read, "I will be a champion of freedom and justice" and " I will build a more peaceful world". To be a champion of freedom and justice and work towards building a more peaceful world is something everyone should do, not just students studying Tae Kwon Do. But the ripple in the pond must start somewhere, and for me there's no better place to be a part of the intellectual stone that begins the ripple than at Kicks Martial Arts for Women.

    The Tae Kwon Do Student Oath is embodied in us all. It is far from being a rote tradition for many of us, it is a way of life.