You catch yourself bowing to the clerk at the drugstore.
You realize you’re using the dojang handshake with complete strangers.
Before long, it’s “Yes, ma’am,” “No ma’am,” “Yes, sir,” “No, sir,” to everyone you meet.
Sometimes, new students ask me if they can apply Tae Kwon-Do outside of the dojang. If they’re committed to doing Tae Kwon-Do correctly, they will. Even without realizing it.
Some students walk out of the dojang and leave their training at the door. I can spot those students quickly. They’re disengaged in class, they don’t respect their fellow students, and they don’t retain information from week to week. They don’t usually last very long.
Black belts are different. Once you reach that level, you do not differentiate between life at the dojang and life outside of the dojang.
You live by the tenets of Tae Kwon-Do:
You live by the oath:
“I will follow the tenets of Tae Kwon-Do”
“I will respect my instructors and seniors”
“I will never misuse Tae Kwon-Do”
“I will be a champion of freedom and justice”
“I will build a more peaceful world”
As a black belt, these ideals are so deeply ingrained inside that you are always living the “Tae Kwon-Do life.” With everything you do, every interaction you have, every single time.
When training (i.e. kicking, punching, learning self-defense, etc.), we work hard to improve ourselves. We improve our bodies. Our minds. Our ability to defend ourselves. We learn to respect those around us, our abilities, and the responsibility that comes with them. We are always becoming strong. Becoming capable. Becoming respectful.
When I was a public school teacher, I always referred to my principal as “Principal,” never “Mr.” or “Mrs.” Other teachers were taken aback by this. They asked me why I did it. I said I respect their title and what they did to earn it. In return, they showed me equal respect.
People seem afraid to be nice or show respect sometimes. As if showing respect makes them lesser and others greater. In Tae Kwon-Do, it doesn’t.
There is a clear ranking system in martial arts. I outrank my students. Grand Master Park outranks me. But he treats me with respect. And I show my students that same respect, regardless of where they are in their training.
Tae Kwon-Do has not only taught me self-defense and self-discipline. It taught me the kind of instructor I need to be. The kind of husband and father I need to be. The kind of man I need to be.
Master Gorino’s Tae Kwon-Do offers a trial program for individuals and families in Buffalo, NY and the surrounding areas that allows you to get a feel for the different classes, meet our instructors, and experience our dojang. It’s a great way to see if Tae Kwon-Do is right for you. To learn more or to sign up, register online or call (716) 836-KICK (5425) and a member of our team will follow up with you on next steps. We look forward to helping you achieve your goals. Pil-Sung!