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  anonymous1 Karla

WHAT THE STUDENT OATH MEANS TO ME

A confession. Almost every time we say the student oath in class, I stumble over the 4th statement - even though I've been coming to class nows for months and months so I SHOULD have the student oath down cold. But number four continues to give me trouble. I thin kit's because of the working of ti - especially the phrase "champion of freedom and justice" - seems to me so akin to a political statement. Especially a statement made by a political campaigner, especially a statement that might be said by a Republican political campaigner (which tells you something, at least, about my political sympathies). This correlation between an oath statement of a woman's martial arts school and an ideal oft-associated with conservative government politics strikes me as a bit odd - and saying it always rather unnerves me.

And then there's the second statement - which I find not unnerving, but a bit amusing. We say: I shall respect my instructors, seniors, and fellow students. It's that world "fellow" that always gets to me - because when I look around the room I never see any fellows among the group!

 But now that I've said what I think might be changed or improved in the student oath, here's what I think is especially good (notice that I'm following the format for who we evaluate one another's Tae Kwon Do forms!). I especially like the third tenet - perseverance. Not because I find it easy. Not at all - quite the opposite, as a matter of fact. I know enough about myself to know that I don't always finish things. So for me, the word "perseverance" is a challenge - a good and necessary challenge. And now, especially, as I'm in the midst of a test for green belt, it's an especially poignant one. Because... I have two other green belts already. Both were earned at other martial arts schools - and both, as it turns out, were the highest belt levels that I earned at those schools. So the big question facing me now is: "Will I have the perseverance this time, in this place, to go beyond a green belt?"

10-02-04