Taekwondo Moral Code

Master Kiel Soon Park, President of the International Council on Martial Arts Education, said that,

"Tae Kwon Do is a way of life. Its purpose is to enable men and women to realize their full potential both mentally and physically. If the mental aspect is ignored, its physical aspect is meaningless."

The spiritual aspects of the Art of Taekwondo are embodied in what has been called the "Ten Commandments" of Taekwondo;

The Moral Code

1. Loyalty to Country: Our country allows for our existence, as we know it; we must insure that the country will go on forever, so we will go on forever; therefore, we must strive to be loyal.
2. Fidelity to Parents: Only our parents give us the gift of life and then sacrifice so that they might provide us with a better life than the one they knew, and only parents expect nothing in return. We must therefore honor our parents.
3. Marital Fidelity: Husband and wife should be considered one. Life without love has no dignity.
4. Brotherhood: A person who is considered your brother deserves to be helped, encouraged and treated with kindness by you and others.
5. Respect for Elders: There is no substitute for the experience of the old. They should be cared for and honored for what they have accomplished.
6. Respect for Teachers: The teacher must do his best for his students; in return the students will give him loyalty and respect.
7. Friendship: A friend is like a brother. We are at our best when we forget our troubles to help another.
8. Avoid killing living things: We should avoid killing living things whenever possible.
9. Strength: Inner strength is the key to real valor and makes men brave.
10. Finish what you start: Most importantly, finish whatever you start. Don't leave things hanging. Responsibility and freedom make a man

The Moral Code has it's basis in the ancient Five Codes of Human Conduct which were the guiding principles in the lives of the legedary Hwarang warriors of Korea. The society of Hwa Rang Do("the way of the flowering manhood") was founded by King Jin Heung, the 24th King of Silla. This elite group of warriors numbered between 200 and 1,000 at any given time. They were educated in many disciplines, including history, Confucian philosophy, ethics, Buddhist morality, riding, archery, sword play, military tactics and, of course, taek kyon, the predecessor to Tae Kwon Do. The Buddhist warrior monk Won Kang established five axioms which governed the lives of the Hwarang;

1. Be loyal to your country
2. Be obedient to your parents
3. Be trustworthy to your friends
4. Never retreat in battle
5. Never make an unjust kill

Tae kyon was taught in conjunction with the Five Codes of Human Conduct so that it became a way of life for the young men, a code of moral behavior that served to guide their lives and the use to which they put their training in taek kyon. Today, these codes are reflected in the Moral Code modern Taekwondo. As with the original codes of conduct, these modern axioms are used to guide the moral development of students of the art, and no student who does not fully understand these tenets can ever hope to master the true essence of the Art.

Tae Kwon Do has a long history behind it; the average American student would do well to learn both the history and philosophy of the form in order to become truely proficient in it.