The first line of taekwon-do oath says: “I shall observe the tenets of taekwon-do”. All taekwon-do practitioners are well aware of them: courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, indomitable spirit.
I have decided to medidate for one day on each of these tenets, as well as focus on it practically throughout the day. This does not mean, of course, that I will abandon the tenets after five days. My only intention is to dedicate extra time to these principlies in order to better grasp and embrace them.
I begin with courtesy.
I think each each tenet can be best understood via the “circles” analogy.
Imagine a set of expanding circles with you in the middle. The first and smallest circle is the training hall. Courtesy here means respect towards your Master, instructors, and training mates. Moreover, embracing courtesy within the training area will allow projecting it in the outer world too.
The second bigger circle is yourself. Courtesy towards yourself means self-respect. We need to respect ourselves no matter how imperfect we are. Self-respect begets confidence and optimism. Again, the lack of self-respect translates easily into lack of respect towards others.
The next even wider circle is your family and close environment. We ought to respect our parents for they dedicate their lives to raise ourselves. We need to be courteous towards our relatives and friends also as they are the closest people we share our experiences with.
Finally, the biggest circle is the whole world. Courtesy here involves such ideas and practices as tolerance, non-discrimination, mutual respect, and non-violence towards all living organisms.
All in all, this tenet – like all the others – is a compass for both personal development and nurturing relationships with the World.
Courtesy is giving a bow,
to black belts and teachers who show you how.
It’s doing your chores before you are asked,
and being helpful in every class.
It’s simple words like thank you and please,
and never – no, never to hurt or tease.
©The Academic Taekwondo