The Five Tenets of Taekwon-Do

The Five Tenets of Taekwon-Do

By Mathiam Mbow, owner / instructor at Silver Lining Taekwon-Do

I spent 3 days of intense training in Westminster, CO June 24th to the 26th going through all the Taekwon-Do patterns, techniques, self-defense and sparring drills. This was a weekend full of learning and exhaustion and while my body is still recovering from the aches, pains, and bruises, I feel very grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from the best grandmasters we have today in Taekwon-Do.  However, the part of the weekend that sticks out most in my mind is the “DO” part of the training.  You probably know that the “DO” in all martial arts means the “Way”. When you hear Taekwon-Do, Karate Do, Jeet Kune Do, Tang Soo Do etc, the “DO” refers to the philosophy of the discipline.  It is what guides the practitioners of the art on the right path. In the case of Taekwon-Do, the main purpose of the “DO” is to build a more peaceful world. This is done through the teachings and understanding of the five tenets: Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control and Indomitable Spirit.

Courtesy: To be courteous and kind to people in order to build a society where everyone is treated with respect, dignity and equality.

Integrity: To have a strong set of moral values that promote righteousness and truthfulness in order to hold oneself and people accountable for their actions and words.

Perseverance: To be relentless in the pursuit of one’s goals. Surely, success can only be achieved through discipline and perseverance. However, perseverance in Taekwon-Do refers to the idea of building a more peaceful world.  We must persevere and work tirelessly to build a world where everyone finds their place in society and where every person is given the same opportunities to pursue their own dreams and goals.

Self-Control: The power to check oneself in the face of adversity or disagreement. Being able to control one’s emotions and feelings is a huge part of building a more peaceful world as it allows us to be able to have civil, respectful, and meaningful conversations despite our differences. Lao-Tzu says: “Stronger is the person who wins over oneself rather than someone else.”

Indomitable Spirit: Indomitable spirit is having the courage to denounce injustices regardless of potential repercussions.  This is to fight for a higher ideal to promote a more harmonious and peaceful society regardless of the many challenges and uphill battles one inevitably faces in doing so. Perhaps the best definition of Indomitable Spirit is found in the words of general Choi, the founder of Taekwon-Do: “A serious student of Taekwon-Do will at all times be modest and honest. If confronted with injustice, he will deal with the belligerent without any fear or hesitation at all, with indomitable spirit, regardless of whosoever and however many the number may be.”

These five simple tenets, if understood and lived fully, can make the American dream come true for all of us. We are not as divided as we are led to believe.  Let’s find the courage to make this country what it has always aspired to be; “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” However, let’s not lose sight of the fact that freedom is only achieved when ALL are free, not just a few of us but EVERYONE regardless of race, religion or creed. This ideal is what the “DO” in Taekwon-Do is all about.

Be Your Best!
Mr. Mbow

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Taekwon-Do and Martial Arts for All Ages
Silver Lining Taekwondo |
3170 Deming Way, Middleton, WI 53562