The Tenets of Tae Kwon-Do: Integrity

 

The five tenets of Tae Kwon-Do are a model for a student’s behavior. It is through these guiding principles that one’s character is developed and nourished. Every Tae Kwon-Do student memorizes the tenets and applies each belief into their life.

This is the second post in a five-part series on the Tenets of Tae Kwon-Do. View the first post about Courtesy.

2. Integrity (Yom Chi)

At my school we play a game called Tae Kwon-Do Dodgeball. It doesn’t necessarily sound like something you would do at a Tae Kwon-Do school, but the kids love it. The only difference from regular dodgeball is that when you get hit, you come out of the game and work on a specific routine, do pushups, or training exercise.

The game is fast-paced, and it’s up to each individual to honor his or her requirements before reentering the game. If a student is caught not doing their required training, I stop the game to discuss the importance of integrity.

Integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. Having integrity means doing the right thing when nobody is looking, being trustworthy in the eyes of others, and keeping your promises. In the martial arts world, integrity means being a person of honor.

An example is when Johnny tells Jimmy he’ll come over Saturday to help paint Jimmy’s bedroom. But when Saturday rolls around, Johnny conveniently forgets his obligation to Jimmy choosing instead to watch the hockey game on television. I tell my students that instead of just saying I’m sorry, Johnny needs to round up some friends, buy a pizza, and get that room painted and cleaned in short order.

We teach our students that saying “I’m sorry” is important if you break your integrity. Expressing regret for your actions shows you care and makes people feel better. But, the damage was done. When you maintain a high level of integrity, you avoid saying “I’m sorry” all together.

Integrity also means being a leader when others won’t. It’s easy to get swept up and follow people down the inappropriate path. Maybe there’s a clique in school (or work) that’s doing the wrong thing, and it’s up to you to have the courage to stand up and do what’s right. These moments are difficult and can cost you friendships. You’ll learn these people were never really your friends, just people in your life. A true friend will never put you in a difficult situation.

This is the second post in a five-part series on the Tenets of Tae Kwon-Do. View the first post about Courtesy here.

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