It is said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
For the student who wishes to train in Tae Kwon Do, that step is
respect. It is the step which begins the training journey, and which will
accompany him throughout his progress as a student. And in time, he will be
able to turn and show others how to take that first, most crucial step.
Respect is learned through action.
Psychologist Paul Pearsall has observed that motivation follows
behavior, it does not precede it. So even a beginning Tae Kwon Do
student bows to the flag and his seniors as he enters the do-jang. He
may be uncomfortable at first, feeling a bit awkward and unsure of the
reason for such a tradition. But in time the action becomes natural -- so
much so that he would feel something was missing if he did not bow. The
motivation to show respect grows within the student. Through the bow he
communicates silently with his instructor and fellow students that he is
making the connection with the tradition, the art, and the history of Tae
Respect is also learned through focusing on common courtesy. The
beginning student may wonder at such rules as keeping his nails well-clipped
and not wearing jewelry in the do-jang. He may not understand
the importance of keeping his uniform clean and neat. But the student who
makes the effort to obey these rules will discover something growing within
himself: respect for himself, his school, his instructor, and Tae Kwon Do
as a whole. These rules were never intended to teach respect themselves,
but they do set up the guidelines necessary for a courteous mindset to
Another way the student learns respect is through the step-by-step
process of rank promotion. With each promotion the student feels a sense of
accomplishment that fosters pride. His confidence increases which develops
self-respect. Over the months and years of his training, he discovers
talents within himself that he would have never dreamed existed. He begins
to see himself as someone of value, with something real to contribute to
others. And he begins to feel a desire to help others, seeing in them the
same potential he discovered within himself. Self-respect nurtures a healthy
respect for others. While rank promotion only seems to serve the individual
student, his entire school actually reaps the benefit of his accomplishment.
Our country was founded on respect. The very wording of our Declaration
of Independence reflects a deep respect for each man's rights, as well as
the necessary positions of authority. But for too many years respect towards
people and property has been declining in our country. What it boils down to
is people today seem have the desire to be the authority, not to be
subject to it. But life simply will not support too many "chiefs" in
one tribe. The fact of the matter is that while we each have rights which
must be respected, we also have leaders which must be respected. Submitting
to authority is not a sign of weakness, it is demonstration of strength.
When the moon tries to shine while the sun is in the sky, it frequently goes
unnoticed. Only at night -- in the sun's absence -- does it receive
Ultimately, the student of Tae Kwon Do will find it is his turn
to teach respect to the newest students He will learn quickly that respect
is not instructed, but demonstrated. Any teacher who does not respect his
students cannot expect his students to respect him. Respect is contagious.
To teach it best, show it.
Respect is one of the foundational principles of Tae Kwon Do.
Through our Tae Kwon Do training, our hope is that our students are
learning healthy respect for themselves, their school, and authority.
Let every soul be subject unto the higher
powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of
God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God
And they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. Romans