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I shall observe the tenets of Taekwon-do

I shall respect my instructors and seniors

I shall never misuse Taekwon-do

I shall become a champion of freedom and justice

I shall build a more peaceful world

Definition of Taekwon-Do

(Written by General Choi in the Encyclopedia of Taekwon-Do)

To put it simply, Taekwon-Do is a version of unarmed combat designed for the purpose of self-defense. It is more than just that, however. It is the scientific use of the body in the method of self-defense; a body that has gained the ultimate use of its facilities through intensive physical and mental training. It is a martial art that has no equal in either power or technique. Though it is a martial art, its discipline, technique, and mental training are the mortar for building a strong sense of justice, fortitude, humility, and resolve. It is this mental conditioning that separates the true practitioner from the sensationalist, content with mastering only the fighting aspects of the art. This is one of the reasons that Taekwon-Do is called an art of self-defense. It also implies a way of thinking and life, particularly in instilling a concept and spirit of strict self-imposed discipline and an ideal of noble moral rearmament.


The nearest description of it is almost a cult. Translated literally, "Tae" stands for jumping or flying, to kick or smash with the foot. ''Kwon" denotes the fist-chiefly to punch or destroy with the hand or fist. "Do" means an art or way-the right way built and paved by the saints and sages in the past. Thus taken collectively, "Taekwon-Do" indicates the mental training and the techniques of unarmed combat for self-defense as well as health, involving the skilled application of punches, kicks, blocks, and dodges with bare hands and feet to the rapid destruction of the moving opponent or opponents.

Taekwon-Do definitely enables the weak to possess a fine weapon together with a confidence to defend him or herself and defeat the opponent, as well. Of course, wrongly applied, Taekwon-Do can be a lethal weapon. Therefore mental training must always be stressed to prevent the student from misusing it.


(Written by General Choi in the Encyclopedia of Taekwon-Do)

The utmost purpose of Taekwon-Do is to eliminate fighting by discouraging the stronger's oppression of the weaker with a power that must be based on humanity, justice, morality, wisdom, and faith, thus helping to build a better and more peaceful world. All men, regardless of age, have felt that death is a shame and lamented that they cannot live as long as the pine trees or the turtles that seem to live a thousand years. Righteous men, on the other hand, deplore the fact that justice does not always triumph over the tyranny of power. However, there are two ways to deal with these problems: The former, through mental discipline, the latter, through physical training. It is my sincere hope that through Taekwon-Do, anyone can garner enough strength to become a guardian of justice, to challenge social disunity, and to cultivate the human spirit to the highest level attainable. It is in this spirit, I am dedicating the art of Taekwon-Do to the people of the world.

The philosophy of Taekwon-Do is based on the ethical, moral, and spiritual standards by which men can live together in harmony, and its patterns are inspired by the ideals and exploits of great men from Korean history. Korea's famous military and civil leaders who in nearly five thousand years of Korean history have never invaded their neighbour yet who fought bravely and made great self-sacrifices to defend their homeland against invading enemies. I also include the names of patriots who willingly gave up their lives to regain Korea's freedom and independence from the Japanese occupation. Each Tul (pattern) of Taekwon -Do expresses the thoughts and the actions of these great men, so the students of Taekwon-Do must reflect the true intentions of those whose name each tul bears. Therefore, under no circumstances should Taekwon-Do be used for selfish, aggressive, or violent purposes, either by an individual or group. Nor will Taekwon-Do be used for any commercial or political purpose whatsoever.

I have set forth the following philosophy and guidelines which will be the cornerstone of Taekwon-Do and by which all serious students of this art are encouraged to live.


  1.  Be willing to go where the going may be tough and do the things that are worth doing even though they are difficult.

  2.  Be gentle to the weak and tough to the strong.

  3.  Be content with what you have in money and position but never in skills.

  4.  Always finish what you begin, be it large or small.

  5.  Be a willing teacher to anyone regardless of religion, race, or ideology.

  6.  Never yield to repression or threat in the pursuit of a noble cause.

  7.  Teach attitude and skill with action rather than words.

  8.  Always be yourself even though your circumstances may change.

  9.  Be the eternal teacher who teaches with the body when young, with words when old, and by moral precept even after death.

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