A word about Etiquette
Respect is the currency of Taekwon-Do;
it is exchanged for knowledge and attention and loyalty. It flows
in both directions in the student-instructor realtionship, between
senior and junior and among any students who have something to
give one another.
is the primary outward manifestation of respect. It is for the
student's education, to become cultured and learn manners. If
Taekwon-Do is to make better people, it does well to start by
inspiring respect for one another. Good etiquette encourages genuine
respect to follow. It is also one of the only quantifiable and
enforceable aspects of respect.
should be maintained at all times, both inside and outside the
is a medium, a catalyst for communication. It is like a good uniform,
it allows the art to be pracitced without hindrance.
Basic rules of etiquette in the
A Taekwon-Do handshake is always given
with two hands. With the right hand extended, place the left hand
palm down under the right elbow. This is a gesture of respect
and should be used at all times, even outside the dojang, when
giving or receiving items, as well as when shaking hands.
Speaking to Seniors
"Sir" or "Ma'am" should be used at all times
when addressing a senior. Although it may sometimes be redundant
to use "Sir" or "Ma'am" in every sentence,
all "Yes" and "No" answers should also contain
"Sir" or "Ma'am". Avoid using "yeah"
or "OK". Seniors must always be addressed by using Mr.,
Mrs., Ms., Miss, or Master, as appropriate, with the senior's
last name. If the last name is not known, use "Sir"
Sometimes it is aceptable for the instructor to call a junior
by his or her first name. The junior should not be insulted, as
it is not a sign of disrespect.
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If you have a question, please raise
your hand. When the instructor calls on you, come to attention,
bow, address the instructor, and ask the question using "Sir"
or "Ma'am". Remain at attention while the answer is
given. If you wish to demonstrate a technique as part of your
question, ask for permission to do so. After
the instructor gives you the answer, bow again and say "Thank
you Sir" (or Ma'am.) Remain
at atttention until given permission to return.
If you are sitting when you wish to
speak or answer a question, stand and come to
attention and bow before speaking.
Do not "debate"
the instructor's answer. You may ask once for clarification, but
do not enter into a debate about the instructor's answer. Never
try to "instruct" the instructor, even in a question
If you are among several students
waiting to speak to an instructor, offer your seniors the opportunity
to go first.
Stand at a respectful distance so that you will not intrude should
the conversation be private or sensitive in nature.
When the senior instructor enters the room, the senior student
in the room should call the class to attention, and bow to the
instructor. Any time a Master enters, or anyone senior to the
senior instructor enters, the same (or greater) recognition should
be given to them.
If the senior student is preoccupied, it is acceptable for another
student to call the class to attention. Then the senior student
will take over.
Bowing is a demonstration of respect, it represents a great many
principles that must be upheld.
* To fellow student: represents an acknowledgement that the techniques
we practice can be lethal if abused and therefore must be wielded
* To instructor: an expression of respect and humility, an essential
sign of loyalty unhidered by outside influences and personalities.
* To student: Instructor will watch over them and do his or her
best in helping to navigate the journey through Taekwon-Do.
* To fellow Instructor: implies mutual respect; they will treat
one another with honor in their relationship.
* At threshold of dojang: to make apparent a student's appreciation
for practice of Taekwon-Do. This simple gesture recognizes the
spiritual boundary that separates the routine of everyday life
from the supercharged atmosphere of the dojang, the place where
we come to study Taekwon-Do. Each of us must not fail to formally
acknowledge the virtues portrayed therein.
A correct Taekwon-Do bow is
from the attention stance - heels touch, feet at a 45 degree angle,
eyes forward, slightly above the horizon, hands lightly clenched
at the sides, and only a fifteen degree bend at the waist is correct.
Your neck should be straight
- bend at the waist. Your eyes should be focused lower than the
senior's eyes. A bow is only fifteen degrees. When bowing, the
junior should wait for the senior to end the bow (straighten up
after the senior.)
When in class, line up to
the left of your senior, and/or behind him or her. This includes
the situation when facing the class or a testing board. When performing
Ho Sin Sul, the students line up by rank to face the testing board
and bow, before and after the demonstration.
At the beginning and end of
class, the first row of students will kneel first, then row by
row to the last row, and the instructor kneels last. At the end
of meditation, the instructor will always stand up first. The
senior Black Belts will then stand, and all others by row. Do
not stand before your seniors begin to stand. When you are giving
commands, be sure the instructor is down or up all the way before
giving the next command to the class.
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There are no exceptions for using "Sir" or "Ma'am."
Spouses and other relatives are not given special consideration
in class or other Taekwon-Do settings.
Come early to class, warm
up, and practice techniques until class starts. It is disrespectful
to the instructor to arrive late to class, unless you have received
permission from the instructor to do so. (Many students have other
responsibilities such as families and jobs that prevent them from
ariving on time. Please inform your instructor of such responsibilities,
so he or she will not think you are being disrespectful. If you
do not have such a commitment, you should always be there early.)
The students that arrive late
automatically give the instructor 10 push-ups. When arriving late
to class, bow into the dojang, stand at attention, and catch the
instructor's eye, perform your push-ups, then stand at the side
of the class and wait for the instructor to admit you into class.
Lined Up in Class
When asked to sit in class, you must kneel, sitting on your feet.
If you have a medical problem that prevents you from kneeling,
get permission from the instructor to sit in an alternative fashion.
With permission from the instructor, you may sit with your legs
crossed. Unless you are stretching, kneeling or sitting with your
legs crossed are the only acceptable ways to sit on the Taekwon-Do
If you are called forward
individually, take one step back and exit out the side of your
line the shortest way. Do not cut through the lines. You should
run as quickly as possible. When you are within a few feet, stop,
bow to the instructor, and stand at attention.
When returning to your place
in line after being called forward, bow to the instructor, and
walk backward a few steps to the side
of the class and resume your place in line without
turning your back on the instructor.
When you have been given permission to sit rather than kneel
keep the soles of your feet from facing the Instructor or test
board. It is considered disrespectful to do so.
If you must leave class, raise
your hand and receive permission. Bow to the instructor, step
backwards and back up to the closest side of the class.
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If you see a student or students
senior to you performing tasks such as moving chairs, tables,
boards, tiles etc. you should quickly go ask them if you can take
over their task. Upper dans do not like to see Yellow belts watching
Black Belts perform menial tasks.
In the USTF we have the opportunity
to receive instruction from several excellent instructors. Because
we are all individuals, one instructor may teach something a little
differently than another. Do not correct or question the instructor,
as that would be a sign of disrespect. Do whatever your current
instructor says. If you still have a question after class, respectfully
ask your instructor, or the senior instructor if you wish, to
explain the difference.
Do not approach your instructor
with a statement like, "Did you hear about the new way of
doing X?" You will have put them in the position of appearing
ignorant or old fashioned regardless of their answer. Your instructor
does things as new as you need. Find a different way to ask your
question. Make your goal clear: to reconcile your confusion.
Do not begin your question by stating, "Mr. So-and-so told
me to do it this way..." because it sounds like a challenge.
Begin by saying something like, "I am confused, Sir, about
the (technique) you showed me. It seems different from what I
have been shown before." Note the difference in tone.
Request permission to train under another instructor. We are welcomed
and sometimes invited by countless other USTF instructors to come
train with them. It is proper courtesy to receive your instructor's
permission before doing so. That way, he or she will have no reason
to question your loyalty, or to wonder who your instructor is.
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Always treat a person who
once was your senior as if he or she still is, even if you pass
them up in rank eventually.
Never request to test. Each
instructor will have his or her own procedure for students to
follow to determine when they test. If you think your instructor
has forgotten about you, the thing to do is to respectfully ask
him or her to let you know when you should be getting ready to
test, and what specific things you should be working on. Your
instructor will then be made aware that you will soon reach your
training time, and will be able to consider you for the next testing.
It is proper courtesy to inform
your instructor if you cannot attend a class or other Taekwon-Do
event, particularly a testing or Black Belt class.
Don't try to teach a technique
to someone else unless the instructor asks you to.
It is standard procedure for
students to stand when the instructor enters the room, even at
an activity outside the gym. When at a restaurant, the students
will stand as the senior instructor enters and is seated. If a
senior approaches your table, the whole table should stand up,
unless there are non-Taekwon-Do people
at the table, such as a Grandmother.
If the senior leaves the table or room for the evening (to go
home, rather than just to leave the table temporarily) the students
should stand to acknowledge the instructor.
When at a social event and
during a toast, your glass should always touch a senior's glass
at a lower level. In other words, your glass is always lower than
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The Student/Instructor relationship
is a very valuable, faithful one. Always protect your instructor's
dignity, even at your own expense or reputation.
A Taekwon-Do uniform is not
street clothing. It is best to remove at least your belt and jacket
when leaving the workout area to go home. This is to show respect
for Taekwon-Do and an attitude of humility.
Additional Notes on Etiquette
These points of etiquette,
procedures and protocol have come through the USTF. Your instructor
is the final authority on etiquette and procedures in his or her
class. Some instructors may want certain procedures modified.
Others may want certain procedures strictly enforced. The important
thing is to conduct yourself according to the strictest standards
until the senior directs you to behave otherwise.
Remember that the senior Black
Belt is a person too, and as such is allowed their personal imperfections
without your astonishment or commentary.
In Taekwon-Do situations,
react to all orders before the senior Black Belt, e.g. "sit
down." In social situations, do not sit down before the senior
If you are introducing the
senior Black Belt to someone who is not involed in Taekwon-Do,
use "Master", "Ms.", "Mr.", etc.
along with their full name, thus giving the senior the opportunity
to allow the other the use of their first name. The senior Black
Belt may request that you introduce them by their first name (without
implicitly giving you permission to address them similarly), or
they may interrupt the introdution to give their familiar name.
Do not verbally interrupt
the conversation of a senior Black Belt. Instead, stand at attention
at at discreet distance, e.g. beyond conversational earshot, until
you are acknowledged.
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