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The 5 Tenets of Taekwondo

  • Courtesy (Ye Ui) in a broader sense is kindness, humility, good manners, politeness, and respect.


  • Integrity (Yom Chi) generally speaking, is honesty, straight dealing, purity, moral soundness, and uprightness. To have integrity means to be honest with everyone and with yourself at all times.


  • Perseverance (In Nae) is persistence, a steadfast pursuit of and an understanding of the aim, continuation in the practice of Taekwondo regardless of the amount of obstacles, hindering circumstances, difficulties, or occasional “let downs” which are only temporary situations. The strong will to hold on, regardless of obstacles. Loyalty.


  • Self-Control (Guk Gi) is a double edged sword: on the one hand, it is the physical control with regard to motions, precision of execution, prevention of unnecessary injuries (as opposed to acting wildly) or killing, due to lack of control. Experience is the best teacher, but all the physical reactions are based on the psychological makeup, maturity, and moral, ethical, and religious codes. Emotions are usually involved, to a certain degree, in the majority of situations, hence the need for emotional self control. The degree of controlling the particularly strong emotions such as love, hate, anger, surprise, joy, sadness, etc., show the level of achievement of each practitioner of Tae Kwon Do. Emotions should be governed by a strong and conscious reason and aided by experience in principles. The success of application of this tenet in practical everyday life should result in creating the indomitable spirit.


  • Indomitable Spirit (Baekjul Boolgool)
    means unconquerable, unbreakable, unquenchable. To put it simply, it means that one has such strong unshakeable beliefs and principles that even sacrificing the most precious possession one has, one’s own life, is not too high a price to pay in defending them. The most classical example of the application of this tenet is found in ancient Greek history, in the story of the Thermopylae, Leonidas and his 300 Spartans.

The original Five Codes of Human Conduct have been compiled into the Eleven Commandments of modern day Taekwondo. They are:

Loyalty to your country
Respect for your parents
Faithfulness to your spouse
Loyalty to your friends
Respect for your brothers and sisters
Respect for your elders
Respect for your teachers
Never take a life unjustly
Indomitable spirit
Loyalty to your school
Finish what you begin

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