tenets of taekwondo

What Is The Philosophy Of Taekwondo? [5 Tenets Of Taekwondo]

Taekwondo is a one of the Top 6 Martial Arts that has been practiced for centuries.

But what is the philosophy behind it?

In this blog post, we will discuss the five tenets of taekwondo and their meanings.

These tenets are: courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and indomitable spirit.

Each one of these values is important in helping you become a better person both on and off the mat.

Table of Contents


Taekwon-Do is a style of unarmed combat with the goal of self-defense; it is the scientific use of the body through a means of self-defense, a body that has reached its peak performance due to intense physical and mental training.

Discipline and both technical and mental training are the basis for developing a strong sense of justice, humility, and resolution in martial arts.

It is the mental training that distinguishes a true practitioner from a boaster who only needs to learn the fighting components of this discipline.


The first martial artists trained with a clear function and purpose in mind: to protect their families, villages, and honor.

They reflected Confucius values such as respect and pride in their nation.

They structured their lives around tight discipline, attention, concentration, and perfection in whatever they did.

girl taekwondo practicioner doing a punch in a taekwondo stance

Taekwondo originated in Korea, a nation that has been invaded numerous times. Korea’s culture has changed with time, but the art of Taekwondo has not.

The philosophy has been passed down through generations.

Taekwondo embodies the mind, body, and soul.

Training one element without running the others results in an ineffective martial artist.

The philosophy of Taekwondo is crucial for taekwondo practicioners, for this reason they have an oath to fulfill:


I shall observe the tenets of Taekwondo

I shall respect the instructor and seniors.

I shall never misuse Taekwondo.

I shall be a champion of freedom and justice.

I shall build a more peaceful world.


As you can see, the first one requires the knowledge of the 5 tenets of Taekwondo, let’s see them.

little taekwondo guys kicking on the strike


Taekwondo training’s success or failure is largely determined by how one follows and applies the Taekwondo tenets, which should serve as a guide for all serious students of the discipline.

So, if you want to be considered a serious student, you must comprehend what these tenets imply.

Courtesy (Ye Ui)

Many people define courtesy as being respectful and polite which is correct, but it is more than that.

It also includes being considerate, caring, empathetic, helpful, and generous, as well as maintaining proper etiquette.

Courtesy must be expressed honestly or it is considered disingenuous.

Integrity (Yom Chi)

Integrity can be defined as the trait of being honest and having strong moral principles.

The fact is that one must be able to define good and wrong and have the conscience to feel guilt if they are wrong.

It is necessary to understand fairness and justice in order to distinguish between right and wrong.

However, the word guilt is pretty negative because it indicates that there is nothing that can be done about it other than feel horrible about it; the word “regret” would definitely be much better!

The correct definition of integrity is feeling regret for wrongdoing and doing something positive to make apologies.

two taekwondo practitioners doing high kicks

Perseverance (In Nae)

Perseverance is the determination to complete a task despite its difficulty.

In other words, don’t give up and keep going.

Because the fundamentals of Taekwondo must be consistent as a whole, and as we have integrity as one of the pillars that cannot be compromised, the goal must be worthy and should not compromise your integrity.

When we talk about goals, they must be moral.

According to Confucius, “one who is impatient in little affairs can rarely attain success in matters of major importance.”

When it comes to promises, it’s critical to follow through.

If you make a promise, whether expressly or implicitly, your integrity is dependent on you keeping that promise, because it is unjust to make a promise and then fail to deliver.

It’s like making a statement which is not true.

Self-Control (Guk Gi)

Self-control involves not just physical behavior but also thoughts and emotions.

Negative thoughts and emotions can result in inappropriate behavior.

Rather than allowing yourself to enter a mental state in which you have a want to behave badly, you must exercise control over your thoughts and emotions.

This can be accomplished by conditioning your mental responses until they become automatic.

Training is a crucial part of self-control.

Indomitable Spirit (Baekjul Boolgool)

Indomitable Spirit is a spirit that cannot be crushed or overcome, hence following this spirit requires fortitude and bravery.

“It is an act of cowardice to fail to speak up against injustice,” says Confucius.

A diligent Taekwondo student will always be modest and honest. When challenged with injustice, he will deal with the aggressor without fear or hesitation, with unshakable spirit, regardless of who or how many there are.

tenets of taekwondo


The Philosophy of Taekwondo with the five tenets don’t only apply in the dojo, but in everyday life too.

With these core tenets as your guide, you can develop the skills and mindset necessary to be a successful taekwondo practitioner.

Karate Martial Art Team

Karate Martial Art Team

The Karate Martial Art Team is made up of 3 contributors who have full-time job and in their free time are dedicated to martial arts and writing. Do you want to become one of the Team? Get in touch on the contact page.

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