Can Tae Kwon-Do Teach Kids To Be Honest?


We play a game called Tae Kwon-Do Dodgeball. It’s like traditional dodgeball where two teams throw red rubber playground balls at each other trying to hit opposing players and get them out. Except in our version a player may re-enter the game after completing a task. 

I use the game not only as a recreational activity, but also as a skill building exercise for children. When you’re out, your task is to work on a Tae Kwon-Do pattern or technique before you can re-enter the game. This way the student will end up practicing more and not realize they’re still training.

Promoting Integrity

The game also promotes Integrity which is one of the Tenets of Tae Kwon-Do. Integrity means always doing the right thing even when no one is looking. So when we’re playing Tae Kwon-Do Dodgeball, if a person re-enters the game without completing their task, they’re being dishonest and are eliminated from the game permanently.

Though the consequence of not being able to re-enter the game is a negative reinforcement, I believe in turning the situation positive by focusing on the situation and discussing what could have been done differently.

Telling stories is how we learn from example. It’s a time we can sit down together and talk about why a person was dishonest and why they did what they did. What was the outcome and how did it make them feel. When you sit down and talk it out, it allows a person to self-reflect on how their actions affected other people and what they could have done differently. This is how you put someone back onto the right path.

Discussing the stories with the students shows people there’s always a clear path for redemption. If a dishonest person doesn’t have an alternative for redemption, then that person will never choose to be honest.

Golden Rules To Live By

We must teach by example. Here are my Golden Rules to live by:

  • Be an honest person.
  • Don’t be afraid to tell people you when you messed up and weren’t as honest as you could have been. Discuss what happened, even if it had negative results.
  • Know there is always a path for redemption. You just have to see it to choose it.

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