Mind, Body, and Spirit
As with many martial arts, Taekwondo focuses on unifying mind, body, and spirit. Improvement of the body is accomplished through stretching, drills, and forms. Proper training can only be accomplished by a disciplined mind and
the mind can only be expressed through a functioning body. The drive for improvement comes from neither mind nor body but from the spirit. Spirit encompasses the desire to better oneself and the resolve to tackle difficult challenges. While the spirit drives mind and body, the body's fitness also influences mental and spiritual health. Physical improvement builds self-confidence. Thus, the three are interconnected and dependent upon each other. Taekwondo facilitates the melding of mind, body, and spirit into a single harmonious unit.
Tenets of Taekwondo
Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control, Indomitable Spirit
Courtesy encompasses duties and responsibilities towards those people with whom one has direct contact. It is the expressed respect towards one's elders, equals, and subordinates. Most important of these are elders as masters and instructors are bowed to and addressed as sir/ma'am. Their experience surpasses our own and while not always correct, their wisdom should be heard and considered. On the flip side, one must also reciprocate respect to students for their interest and hard work. Finally, courtesy for equals should be expressed by challenging and helping each other in training.
Integrity describes how one should interact with others. To earn the trust and respect of others, one must honestly represent oneself at all times. The trust will become dependability and honor, and knowing that one can be relied upon breed self-respect. Only by being true to others can one be true to oneself.
Perseverance is inward focus and drive to improve oneself. This first requires the courage to honestly assess one's fortes and flaws. Secondly, one must believe that improving these flaws is possible. Finally, improvement depends on the courage to fail and try again until training is complete.
Self-control is the employment of learned physical techniques when necessary as a last resort. The mind is used to prevent physical conflict. Violence is only justified by imminent threat of harm to oneself or another. Self-control is required to be patient in tenuous situations and prevent possible physical injury to oneself and the antagonist. In such situations, self-control is required to discipline the mind and the emotions of the student. Beyond these situations, it also contributes to the improvement of students in everyday life in areas such as work, study, and social interaction.
Indomitable Spirit may seem to be a repeat of perseverance, but it runs deeper. It is the source of perseverance. An indomitable spirit does not recognize impossibility and seeks to challenge itself beyond the realm of Taekwondo. It embraces self-discipline and the absolute best efforts.
Taekwondo Compared to Other Martial Arts
Since 2000, TaeKwonDo has been an Olympic Sport. Taekwondo was founded in Korea and can be translated as "the art of hand and foot" or "the way
of hand and foot." Thus, its focus is hand and foot techniques used for striking. Though its primary focus is not wrist locks and pressure points as in Jujitsu and Hapkido, ND WTF Club does incorporate those into the self-defense portion of classes. Techniques such as body throws found in Judo are not taught in Taekwondo. Some martial arts like kendo and, to an extent, aikido,
focus on using weapons. Taekwondo does not. Basically, Taekwondo provides an excellent base for fending off attackers in very realistic situations: the victim is weaponless and must rely on technique as opposed to strength.