Taekwondo Etiquette

jks9199

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I'll add one: You can't train at another school (same art or different art) without asking or mentioning it to the first school.
That one's common across a lot of styles. Personally -- I see it as courtesy. I won't necessarily throw a student out for cross training -- but I'd like them to let me know. Part of that's so that I know what they're up to, or potential injuries, part of it's to steer them away from ripoffs, and part of it's about whether I'm wasting my time with them. If they're not practicing, but are chasing something else a lot harder -- that's where they ought to be.
And you can't get KKW registered from another Master who may charge less.
This kind of bugs me... If Master A simply collects the money to cover the KKW fees and wire costs or the like, but you've been training under Master B who charges an extra $200 for no reason but to line his pocket -- why protect him. (Note that this is different from "master shopping" to find someone who'll file or recommend or the like because your own master isn't doing so for you.)
 

Jaeimseu

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There was a student that was told to go train with another instructor. This instructor was told to be the best there was and the students prior instructor wanted him to learn what he could from this instructor. One day the student got a phone call. It was the instructor asking him to pick him up so he could go to the store to get a jug of milk. Now here is the kicker. The student was (I forget the exact distance) an hour or two away from where his instructor lived and the instructor was only about a block away from the store. Could the instructor just walk to the store to get the milk himself? Probably, but he was looking to see what the student would do. What his character was. How far was he willing to go to learn the art. The ending of the story? The student got into his beat up car, drove the distance and picked up the instructor for the five minute trip then went home. Some call this silly. I call it loyalty.

Now the only reason I am telling you all this is just so that you have a better understanding of how I think and I hope you would not think that I am crazy. I am not saying this to say that you all need to up your game. I hope I am clear in this. I Just believe that there is history and traditions that should be upheld to keep alive this art that I know we all love.

I'm all for etiquette, loyalty, and respect, but this kind of situation is incredibly stupid to me. I think it says more about the character of the instructor than it does the student.

I can remember a time when we had a guest judge come to a testing. He was probably 2 hours away by car. We didn't know until the end of the night after a 5 hour testing and a 2 hour dinner that the guest judge had one of his students drive him to the school and sit in the car until it was time to go home. When we learned the student was sitting in the car we asked the guest to bring the student in to eat with us, but the judge said that the student should continue waiting in the car.

This guest was not even a particularly high rank, no more than 5th or 6th dan. We didn't have any more contact with that judge after that night.

Sent from my SHV-E210K using Tapatalk 2
 

SJON

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Personally I think theres a fine line between maintaining an appropriate level of etiquette (i.e. one that serves a purpose of keeping things safe and organised, adhering to generally accepted codes of social conduct) and the paramilitary or quasi-religious approach that encourages a kind of voluntary self-debasement on the students part. The latter, in my view, is the basis for the existence of the cult mentality apparent in many MAs or MA schools, the elevation of the master/instructor/founder to the status of some kind of morally superior being, a person of great wisdom who must be revered. This is also a great way of keeping people hooked and paying fees for years, but thats another matter.

I am reminded of a quote I read once (I forget who or where) about the absurdity of seeking moral guidance from lead guitarists. Seeking moral guidance from a guy just because he is good at fighting is just as absurd. Now, thats not to say that a good MA teacher has nothing more to offer than fighting skills; far from it. But does he or she have any greater claim to respect than a school teacher (particularly primary school) or community youth worker, who does a far wider-ranging, better qualified and more intensive job in terms of socially educating a student? Kids and often young adults can certainly benefit from a structured, disciplined approach, but there are many, many ways of going about that that dont involve beatification of the authority figure and the annulment of the students individual identity.

As an adult (I am 40 years old and have been in the MAs since my mid-teens) I have frequently come across masters often with no connection to my school, organisation or even my style who are clearly very concerned with demanding respect and fawning behaviour from anyone who is not visibly of an equal or higher grade (stripes on belt, etc.). While I am all in favour of showing the kind of good manners that could be expected in any social context, and even willing to play the hierarchy game to some extent for the sake of functional class dynamics, I draw the line at the eyes downcast, yes sir, thank you for bestowing your wisdom on lowly me (wisdom which Ive probably paid for, by the way) kind of things. Naturally, Im not talking about all masters, all instructors or all styles. But it is a very common phenomenon in my experience.

Best regards,

Simon
 

Earl Weiss

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. Now, thats not to say that a good MA teacher has nothing more to offer than fighting skills; far from it. But does he or she have any greater claim to respect than a school teacher (particularly primary school) or community youth worker, who does a far wider-ranging, better qualified and more intensive job in terms of socially educating a student? ............................................., many ways of going about that that dont involve beatification of the authority figure and the annulment of the students individual identity.

As an adult (I am 40 years old and have been in the MAs since my mid-teens) I have frequently come across masters often with no connection to my school, organisation or even my style who are clearly very concerned with demanding respect and fawning behaviour ..............................................................

Best regards,

Simon

I take issue with several of the above statements.

I for one find public school teachers do not socialy educate students and few think it to be in theit job description. Further, the setting is oftten not conducive to this. MA schools are one of the few places many youth are required to show curtesy to others.

I also differentiate the practice of showing courtesy and ettiquette from respect. I explain that you can exhibit courtesy (which I tell students means to be polite and have good manners) to people you do not know and even those you do not like. Respect is something that is earned. Exhibiting courtesy and having good manners does not negate one's individuality.
 

RTKDCMB

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There was a student that was told to go train with another instructor. This instructor was told to be the best there was and the students prior instructor wanted him to learn what he could from this instructor. One day the student got a phone call. It was the instructor asking him to pick him up so he could go to the store to get a jug of milk. Now here is the kicker. The student was (I forget the exact distance) an hour or two away from where his instructor lived and the instructor was only about a block away from the store. Could the instructor just walk to the store to get the milk himself? Probably, but he was looking to see what the student would do. What his character was. How far was he willing to go to learn the art. The ending of the story? The student got into his beat up car, drove the distance and picked up the instructor for the five minute trip then went home. Some call this silly. I call it loyalty.

There is a difference between testing the students loyalty and taking advantage of them. Asking the student to do that was stepping way over the line and if that happened in my school he would have been chastised severely. The instructor should never have put his student in such an awkward position and should have had more respect for his students.
 

RTKDCMB

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I can remember a time when we had a guest judge come to a testing. He was probably 2 hours away by car. We didn't know until the end of the night after a 5 hour testing and a 2 hour dinner that the guest judge had one of his students drive him to the school and sit in the car until it was time to go home. When we learned the student was sitting in the car we asked the guest to bring the student in to eat with us, but the judge said that the student should continue waiting in the car.

This guest was not even a particularly high rank, no more than 5th or 6th dan. We didn't have any more contact with that judge after that night.

I can see why you did not have any more contact with him, if I was in that situation I would have insisted the student come in and eat.
 

SJON

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I take issue with several of the above statements.

I for one find public school teachers do not socialy educate students and few think it to be in theit job description. Further, the setting is oftten not conducive to this. MA schools are one of the few places many youth are required to show curtesy to others.

I also differentiate the practice of showing courtesy and ettiquette from respect. I explain that you can exhibit courtesy (which I tell students means to be polite and have good manners) to people you do not know and even those you do not like. Respect is something that is earned. Exhibiting courtesy and having good manners does not negate one's individuality.

With due respect, Earl, are you a school teacher yourself? I am not currently, though I have been, and it certainly is in the job description and in the academic training. Educational sociology is a big part of education that non-teachers are generally entirely unaware of, as it's not something tangible or visible like, say, grades. In fact, the socialisation aspect of education is probably more important on the whole than the academic aspect.

That said, courtesy and respect should start in the home, although sadly this is often not the case, and parents increasingly seem to think that it is the teachers' responsability to take care of that too.

Now, if you live in a society in which neither parents nor teachers instil these values and the lot falls to MA teachers, then you've got big problems.
 

SJON

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I also differentiate the practice of showing courtesy and ettiquette from respect. I explain that you can exhibit courtesy (which I tell students means to be polite and have good manners) to people you do not know and even those you do not like. Respect is something that is earned. Exhibiting courtesy and having good manners does not negate one's individuality.

To be clear, I do in fact agree with this paragraph.

My issue is with the idea that MA masters are somehow bestowed with some kind of special wisdom or moral superiority, and that some of them use this perception to instal themselves at the head of a kind of power structure.

That's not to say there aren't any MA instructors who are also good educators. On the contrary, many certainly are. But they are also in the main just guys - and often businessmen - who are good at MA, have done them for a long time and have along the way gained hands-on educational experience. They/we are certainly nothing special just because they/we teach MA's.
 

Gwai Lo Dan

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My issue is with the idea that MA masters are somehow bestowed with some kind of special wisdom or moral superiority, and that some of them use this perception to instal themselves at the head of a kind of power structure.
Here are a couple clips that I sometimes think about. The first explains how Mark Saltzman (from the movie Iron & Silk) was impressed by the athleticism of a kung-fu instructor, and signed up. The 2nd clip ends with him realizing "this man has a specific athletic skill, but he is a complete a--hole". So I try to keep the athletic side from the honour side independent in my mind.

The funniest part of the movie though was with Mark saying how a bully at school who would pick on him found out he was studying kung-fu. Mark was worried that the bully was going to say in effect "I can still beat you up" and proceed to do so; instead the bully said something like, "You study at that school? Wow you must be tough because my brother was there and quit after 1 week because it was too hard". So the Bully never bothered him again.

 
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Earl Weiss

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With due respect, Earl, are you a school teacher yourself?.........................
That said, courtesy and respect should start in the home, although sadly this is often not the case, and parents increasingly seem to think that it is the teachers' responsability to take care of that too.

Now, if you live in a society in which neither parents nor teachers instil these values and the lot falls to MA teachers, then you've got big problems.

No I am not a school teacher.

Yes, courtesy and respect should start at home. Lots of things should happen, that doesn't mean it actualy happens.

Yes, I agree. Many live in a society where neither parents (assuming a aprent is present at all) nor teachers instill the values and yes, we have big problems.

Feel free to disagree, but IMNSHO one of the reasons for violence in Cities like Chicago is the failure of society (Parents / Teachers) to instill the values. This does not neccesarily mean it's the fault of teachers. Sometimes they have bigger issues to deal with.
 

SJON

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Then we are pretty much in agreement on that.

But that was only a secondary observation in my first post (n繙 #23 of this thread). So if you take the sentence about teachers out of that post, what do you think of the rest? I mean the cult-like placing of masters on pedestals and assigning them the role of "enlightened beings", and them being only too happy to encourage this to the extent of testing students' "worthiness".

I'm not thinking of anyone in particular.

What I am wondering is how to get people to revere me as a superior linguist, have them seek moral guidance from me on the basis of my language skills, charge them regular fees for years and subject them to occasional trial periods of hand-copying my dictionaries in order to check their dedication and humility ;).
 
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ustkdf

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Hi everyone. This story that I posted was not as much about the instructor as much as it was about the student. The situation took place a long time ago. There are two sides to a Student/Instructor relationship. The Student side is to be respectful, maintain etiquette, and always be willing to learn. The Instructor side is to not take for granted or advantage of this. Now there is obviously more to it than that but for the topic this will suffice.

Taekwondo is the art that I intended this thread to be about which is why I posted it in this section. As I stated before, Do in Taekwondo means way. There is a way to live through the art. Now again this is just my opinion, but Taekwondo is more than just a sport.

I have not seen a sport that has Tenants and a Student Oath. Nor (in my experience) have I seen these at schools, musical lessons, linguistic lessons, art lessons, etc. A couple parts of the student oath are "I shall build a more peaceful world" and "I shall be a champion of freedom and justice." This is also a part of what the instructor is supposed to teach. Not just fundamental movements but how to live in these aspects. Now maybe this is just me but most of the schooling that I took was based on me, and how my outcome would be. It was about what kind of job I would be able to get or how much money I would make, not as much about changing the world for selfless reasons. Im not saying that there weren't some teachers out there that tried to instill some of the same values it just wasn't all that prominent.



A martial art is much less about you as much as it is about what you can do for the world. Defending people, standing up for what is right, teaching people how to treat others, instilling self discipline. This is why I believe that Taekwondo is more than just a sport. It is more of a way of life. Etiquette outside the dojang helps people to not care what other people think, but to do the right thing anyway no matter how foolish they look.

I don't think an Instructor should take advantage of a student in any situation. I think the student should already want to do that for their instructor just like I think that you should give and not take in a world where there is too much selfishness. I think that a person should stand up for what is right not back down and allow wrong to rise up and win. This world we live in needs more right because there is so much wrong in it already.

I am not saying this to say that I am perfect. I have made more mistakes and had to come back humbly to apologize more than a couple of times. But it is things like that that help build character. Something I feel is lacking in the world today.
 
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SJON

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You may not remember it, as its more a factor in primary than in secondary education, and anyway its a kind of behind the scenes thing, but education and educational sociology are basically about giving the child the emotional and social skills to enable him or her to interact with other people and operate within society. This involves a set of values and conventions that may not be the stand up and recite them with hand on heart type, but are very definitely present.

Its not about changing the world for selfless reasons. Its more about preparing a child to get by in a society that will necessarily throw all kinds of adversities at him or her, and yes, give them a positive, altruistic approach to it if possible. Plus you learn a few useful concepts that carry through into later life (basic maths, language, thinking skills) and later on some specific stuff that prepares you for a career of some sort.

I would agree, though, that TKD does emphasise an explicit code of behaviour that other sports perhaps dont. Id also say that the traditional concepts of honour, respect, cooperation, humility, etc., are being lost in direct proportion to the growing emphasis on sport and competitiveness (i.e. I win, you lose). Just look at the behaviour of many competitors and coaches at major competitions.

By the way, apartment blocks have tenants. TKD has TENETS. OK?

Once again, we seem to be shying away from the subject of putting instructors on a pedestal. Ive lost count of the times Ive heard something along the lines of Hes so wise, I feel so honoured to train under him [or meet him, or whatever], I dont know if Im worthy . That makes me think, Are you so willing to subjugate yourself in other walks of life too? And besides, arent you paying him? To me, the reciprocal master-disciple relationship is often, to one extent or another (often to a very minor extent), a rather unhealthy exploiter-exploitee thing more than a constructive instructor-student thing. The fact that money is changing hands is a big giveaway.

Cheers,

Simon
 

Earl Weiss

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Then we are pretty much in agreement on that.

But that was only a secondary observation in my first post (n繙 #23 of this thread). So if you take the sentence about teachers out of that post, what do you think of the rest? I mean the cult-like placing of masters on pedestals and assigning them the role of "enlightened beings", and them being only too happy to encourage this to the extent of testing students' "worthiness".

;).

I think this is but one of many issues with regard to MA schools. I have heard of students told by instructors "No, you cannot go to observe anotehr school or competition". Since I am in the USA I want to grab them and say "WAKE UP" aren't you in the USA where freedom of association is a fundamental right?

So, that is a failing of the public to put up with that stuff. Perhaps a reason I feel inclined to teach students and comment on forums such as this about differences between "Respect" and "Courtesy". Although in some instances you may show initial respect for someone you do not know because of their Rank/ Office / age. Over time, as you get to know themrespect may evaporate, yet you may still extend the courtesy due their rank / station / age.
 

jks9199

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I have not seen a sport that has Tenants and a Student Oath. Nor (in my experience) have I seen these at schools, musical lessons, linguistic lessons, art lessons, etc. A couple parts of the student oath are "I shall build a more peaceful world" and "I shall be a champion of freedom and justice." This is also a part of what the instructor is supposed to teach. Not just fundamental movements but how to live in these aspects. Now maybe this is just me but most of the schooling that I took was based on me, and how my outcome would be. It was about what kind of job I would be able to get or how much money I would make, not as much about changing the world for selfless reasons. Im not saying that there weren't some teachers out there that tried to instill some of the same values it just wasn't all that prominent.

While they may not have a written, recited mantra-like code, lots of sports have a code of ethics; we call it fair play or sportsmanship. You don't think that wrestling teaches an "indomitable spirit?" They just call it will or drive, or "never quit!" attitude. How much of the emphasis of that sort of thing in TKD, especially, is really just part of marketing to kids? Maybe some of the folks with memories that reach back further can help on that? I get the idea from others that I know that you didn't see nearly as much of it (maybe a black belt oath, or a brief creed) until the last few decades...
 

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Good points.

I recall very few times actually reciting tenets over the last 20 years, but I do recall a strong sense of "we're doing something serious and potentially dangerous, so don't fool about with it in or outside class, do as the instructor says and respect your classmates". Anybody who didn't do this - going harder than previously agreed in sparring, for example - would quickly receive a "reminder" of why good manners should be observed when next paired with a higher grade.

There was also the indomitable spirit, as JKS said "never quit", apparent in who stuck with it and who didn't, as the training was rather tough.

I feel that the above have tended to disappear to some extent as more and more schools have become dependent on student numbers for their continued existence, whereas MA clubs used to be more often than not non-profit groups of enthusiasts.

The sportsmanship/fairplay and cooperative elements are most certainly present in other sports. Rugby is a good example of this: a tough, apparently violent sport, where you can get hurt if the rules aren't respected (and even if they are) and where teamwork is essential. I always found rugby to be a "cleaner" game than football ("soccer"), with less unsportsmanlike behaviour. In fact, I had an Irish teacher who used to say, "Rugby is an animal's sport played by gentlemen. Football (soccer) is a gentleman's sport played by animals. And Gaelic football is an animal's sport played by animals".

Anyway, getting back on track, Earl's point brings up in turn another point, that of the "loyalty" that is often demanded, e.g. not training with or even looking at (!) other masters or styles. I certainly feel personal loyalty to certain instructors in the sense that I consider them friends or feel admiration towards them, even if at times I have had disagreements with them, but the idea that I might have to seek permission to associate with another instructor or style would be laughable to me and I'm sure to them.
 

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Number 2 is interesting because I was always taught that a bow in Taekwondo was supposed to be 15 degrees in depth and TO maintain eye contact.

I'd always bowed eyes down. My grandmaster always said "this isn't a Bruce Lee movie, ignore that rubbish". In July I attended the Kukkiwon Foreign Taekwondo Masters Training Course (used to be called FIC). During the course we had a lecture on etiquette and we were specifically told not to maintain eye contact, and that this is considered very rude in both Korean and Taekwondo. The reason is that a bow is a sign of respect, friendship and trust - if you maintain eye contact it shows that you don't really trust them and it all falls apart from there.

I always tell my students that if you don't trust someone enough not to kick you in the face when you bow, don't bow to them.
 

Earl Weiss

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" ..................................How much of the emphasis of that sort of thing in TKD, especially, is really just part of marketing to kids? Maybe some of the folks with memories that reach back further can help on that? I get the idea from others that I know that you didn't see nearly as much of it (maybe a black belt oath, or a brief creed) until the last few decades...

The Tenets and Student oath long pre date (relatively) the marketing to and influx of Children. If I would have to guess the big influx did not begin until the late 1970's.
 

Earl Weiss

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I'd always bowed eyes down. My grandmaster always said "this isn't a Bruce Lee movie, ignore that rubbish". .

James Bond doesn't care what the GM Thinks. He kicked the guy while bowing. I think it was in man with the Golden gun.
 
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ustkdf

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You may not remember it, as it’s more a factor in primary than in secondary education, and anyway it’s a kind of “behind the scenes” thing, but education and educational sociology are basically about giving the child the emotional and social skills to enable him or her to interact with other people and operate within society. This involves a set of values and conventions that may not be the “stand up and recite them with hand on heart” type, but are very definitely present.


I think that we may be coming from two different educational systems and experiences. Im not saying that you are wrong, im just saying that they were not evident in my experience. We don't stand up and recite The TENETS and Student Oath in class either, Im just saying that they are obviously a part of Taekwondo. As much as a front punch or side kick.

It’s not about changing the world for selfless reasons. It’s more about preparing a child to get by in a society that will necessarily throw all kinds of adversities at him or her, and yes, give them a positive, altruistic approach to it if possible. Plus you learn a few useful concepts that carry through into later life (basic maths, language, thinking skills) and later on some specific stuff that prepares you for a career of some sort.


This is what I said

I would agree, though, that TKD does emphasise an explicit code of behaviour that other sports perhaps don’t. I’d also say that the traditional concepts of honour, respect, cooperation, humility, etc., are being lost in direct proportion to the growing emphasis on sport and competitiveness (i.e. I win, you lose). Just look at the behaviour of many competitors and coaches at major competitions.


100% agree

By the way, apartment blocks have tenants. TKD has TENETS. OK?


What is the purpose of this statement. Im not the perfect speller and I was tired while writing this. If you want to to joke, make sure you show you are joking. If you are trying to belittle me because I misspelled a word, do it somewhere else to someone else. I believe I have been more that polite in all of my posts.

Once again, we seem to be shying away from the subject of putting instructors on a pedestal. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve heard something along the lines of “He’s so wise, I feel so honoured to train under him [or meet him, or whatever], I don’t know if I’m worthy” . That makes me think, “Are you so willing to subjugate yourself in other walks of life too? And besides, aren’t you paying him?” To me, the reciprocal master-disciple relationship is often, to one extent or another (often to a very minor extent), a rather unhealthy exploiter-exploitee thing more than a constructive instructor-student thing. The fact that money is changing hands is a big giveaway.


The instructors that I have do not make any money for what they do. Or I guess I should say they make VERY little money through Taekwondo. The money that I pay goes to insurance and rent/utilities. So therefor money does not make a difference on how I treat them. Now like I stated before the Instructor should not take advantage of their students. If there is a case where a student is being taken advantage of then they should search for another instructor. Instructors are still people and therefor fallible so just because and instructor makes a mistake does not mean they are bad instructors.

Putting instructors on a pedestal. If the instructor is respectable then I don't see a reason you would not want to show others that they are so.
 
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