from General Choi Hong Hi - Father of Taekwon Do


Etiquette  Guidelines

Philosophy of Taekwon Do

Student-Instructor Relationship

Qualities of a Good Instructor

9 Reasons for Practicing Courtesy

8 Examples of Poor Integrity

5 Disciplines of Moral Culture

Mental Effect


A high degree of etiquette should be observed by students, both inside and outside do-jang. This should be applied by lower ranking students to senior students while training, by higher ranking students to elder students outside of the do-jang, and by all students when visiting another do-jang. In all cases, emphasis should be placed on correct and proper salutation. It is a form of respect and courtesy in Western as well as Oriental societies. It is indeed poor taste for a black belt to slight a beginning white belt who might very well be the instructor's senior in both age and station. Students visiting other do-jangs, whether they be Taekwon-Do or other martial arts, must pay proper respect and observe the traits of modesty and courtesy at all times.

  1. When students bow they must first stand to attention (feet form a 45 degree angle). Fists are lightly clenched, bending the elbows slightly. Bend the body forward 15 degrees.

  2. In the do-jang, while sitting in the company of senior members (higher ranking TKD students or an elderly person) one must maintain proper posture. In case of any senior member entering the room one must stand immediately and bow. You take your seat only after the senior member has sat down.

  3. When entering a do-jang, bow first to the Instructor, then the assistant instructors. Even when visiting other martial arts do-jangs, students must show proper respect and observe the traits of modesty and courtesy at all times.

  4. In the do-jang, you should refrain from making excessive noise and attempt to build a serious training environment.


1.  Be willing to go where the going may be tough and do the things that are worth doing 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 race, religion 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.


Student Resposibilites to the Instructor

  1. Never tire of learning. A good student can learn anywhere, anytime. This is the secret of knowledge.

  2. A good student must be willing to sacrifice for his art and instructor. Many students feel that their training is a commodity bought with monthly dues and are unwilling to take part in demonstrations, teaching and working aound the do-jang. An instructor can afford to lose this type of student.

  3. Always set a good example for lower ranking students. It is only natural they will attempt to emulate senior students.

  4. Always be loyal and never criticize the instructor, Taekwon-Do or the teaching methods.

  5. If an instructor teaches a technique, practice it and attempt to utilize it.

  6. Remember that a student's conduct outside the do jang reflects on the art and instructor.

  7. If a student adopts a technique from another do-jang and the instructor disapproves of it the student must discard it immediately or train at the gym where the technique was learned.

  8. Never be disrespectful to the instructor. Though a student is allowed to disagree with the instructor, the student must first follow the instruction and then discuss the matter later.

  9. A student must always be eager to learn and ask questions.

  10. Never betray the instructor.


The Instructor's Responsibility to the Student

  1. Never tire of teaching. A good instructor can teach anywhere, anytime and always be ready to answer questions.

  2. An instructor should be eager for his students to surpass him; it is the ultimate compliment for an instructor.  student should never be held back. If the instructor realizes his student has developed beyond his teaching capabilities, the student should be sent to a higher ranking instructor.  

  3. An instructor must always set a good example for his students and never attempt to defraud them.

  4. The development of students should take precedence over commercialism. Once an instructor becomes concerned with materialism, he will lose the respect of his students.

  5.  Instructors should teach scientifically and theoretically to save time and energy.

  6. Instructors should help students develop good contacts outside the do-jang. It is an instructor's responsibility to develop students outside as well as inside the do-jang.

  7. Students should be encouraged to visit other do-jangs and study other techniques. Students who are forbidden to visit other do-jangs are likely to become rebellious. There are two advantages for allowing the students to visit other gyms: not only is there the possibility that a student may observe a technique that is ideally suited for him/her, but s/he may also have a chance to learn by comparing his/her techniques to inferior techniques.

  8. All students should be treated equally, there should be no favorites. Students should always be scolded in private, never in front of the class.

  9. If the instructor is not able to answer a student's question, he should not fabricate an answer but admit that s/he does not know and attempt to find the answer as soon as possible. All too often, will a newer black belt dispense illogical answers to students merely because of fear of "losing face" by not knowing an answer.

  10. An instructor should not seek any favors such as cleaning the studio, doing repair work from his students.

  11. An instructor should not exploit his students. The only purpose of an instructor is to produce both technically and mentally excellent students.

  12. Always be honest with the students and never break a trust.


1.   Strong moral and ethical standards

2.   Clear outlook and philosophy in life

3.   Responsible attitude as an instructor

4.   Scientific mind in matters of technique

5.   Knowledge of the vital spots of human anatomy

6.   Unshakable integrity in political and financial dealings

7.   Dedication to spread the art of Taekwon-Do throughout the world

8.  One who gains confidence from his seniors, trust from his fellow instructors and respect from his juniors


1. To promote the spirit of mutual concessions

2. To be ashamed of one's vices, having contempt for those in others

3. To be polite to one another

4. To encourage the sense of justice humanity

5. To distinguish Instructor from student, senior from junior, and elder from younger

6. To behave according to etiquette

7. To respect others' possessions

8. To handle matters with fairness and sincerity

9. To refrain from giving or accepting any gift when in doubt


The instructor who misrepresents himself and his art by presenting improper techniques to his students because 

     of a lack of knowledge or apathy

2. The student who misrepresents himself by "fixing" breaking materials before demonstration

3. The instructor who camouflages bad techniques with luxurious training halls and false flattery to his students

4. The student who requests rank from an instructor or attempts to purchase it

5. The student who gains rank for ego purposes or the feeling of power

6. The instructor that teaches and promotes his art for materialistic gains

7. The student whose actions do not live up to the words

8. The student who feels ashamed to seek opinions from his juniors


General Choi believed that Taekwon-Do was more than just a means of self-defense.  He believed that by developing a strong mind as well as a strong body we would be able to gain the self-confidence to stand on the side of justice at all times.  He hoped that Taekwon-Do practitioners would unite all people in a common brotherhood, without regard to religion, race, sex, national origin, or ideology we can build a strong and peaceful society.  General Choi stated in his Encyclopedia of Taekwon-Do:

 “In Taekwon-Do a heavy emphasis is placed on moral culture, for it not only promotes a healthy body and keen mind, but good sportsmanship and the perfection of moral behavior.  As ancient Greeks first espoused in their sound mind, sound body, creative spirit concept, the more disciplined and cultivated the mid is, the more disciplined and cultivated will be the student’s use of Taekwon-Do.

“No doubt the following lessons may be somewhat hard to fully understand; however, it would behoove the serious student of Taekwon-Do to read, digest, and attempt to grasp these very fundamental essences of moral culture.  A. Return to the basic nature – Mencius gave the following analogy when he reasoned that a man is basically good.  ‘Even a ruthless robber, coming upon an innocent child about to fall into a well, will try to save the child, forgetting for the moment, his intention to rob the house.  This good nature becomes obscured or completely lost by greed for money and power.’  B. Be virtuous—It is difficult to define what virtue is.  However, these are five human qualities which have been recognized as virtues since ancient times: humanity, righteousness, courtesy, wisdom, and trust.  To be virtuous one must constantly cultivate and practice these virtues.”


5 Disciplines of Moral Culture

  1. Travel: Patriotism can be gained through visiting historical or noted areas.

  2. Mountain Climbing: This develops the leg muscles, nourishes the spirit and promotes a feeling of victory and triumph. All too often one claims it is too high to climb without making the attempt.

  3. Cold Showers and Baths: by taking cold showers and baths or exercising on snow-covered ground in bare feet, students build tenacity and pride.

  4. Public Service: By contributing labor to the community, especially to the poor or disabled, students learn charity, humility, comradeship and tolerance.

  5. Etiquette: Western and Oriental cultures value practices of etiquette and social norms. Students should practice both inside and outside the do-jang.


Taekwon-Do is an art that implies a way of thinking and life, particularly in instilling moral civilization and generating the power for justice. Taekwon-Do is also known as one of the best means of developing and enhancing the emotional, perceptual and psychological characteristics that enable the younger generation, regardless of age, social status or sex, to effectively learn and participate in the social demands of his peers.

Every movement of Taekwon-Do is scientifically designed with specific purpose and a skillful instructor may, therefore, develop in the student a belief that success is possible for anyone.

Constant repetition teaches patience and the resolve to overcome any difficulty. The tremendous power generated from one's body develops the self-confidence to meet any opponent, at any place, and in any situation. Sparring teaches humility, courage, alertness and accuracy, adaptability as well as self-control.

Pattern teaches flexibility, grace, balance and coordination, while the fundamental exercises develop precision and teach the method, principle, imagination and purpose. Eventually, this training permeates every conscious and subconscious action of the student.





self control

indomitable spirit


I shall observe the tenets of Taekwon Do

I shall respect my instructor and seniors

I shall never misuse Taekwon Do

I shall be a champion of freedom and justice