Tenets of Taekwondo

A 'tenet' is a doctrine or principle - ideas that can guide behaviour and action. The calligraphy however, indicates that these are not just a list of items to follow but they are Taekwondo's '精神' (Jīngshén in Mandarin, Jungshin in Korean) or the spirit of Taekwondo.

Spirit is used synonymous with 'essence' - and indicates the core of our physical and mental practice.

The individual Tenets of Taekwondo are: Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self Control, and Indomitable Spirit.


(Lǐ yì) Courtesy is understanding dojang etiquette, and then seeking excellence in manner within the dojang and beyond. Walking this path allows you to prepare your mind for practice. Courtesy is the generosity of spirit.


廉正 (Liánzhèng) integrity refers to moral and ethical principles. Integrity is about having honesty, saying what you will do and doing what you've said - to use the appropriate method to control adversity as you experience it. Integrity is clarity of spirit.


Perseverance is not just indicating striving in the face of adversity. 忍耐 (rěnnài) means to endure, to tolerate, to recognize that you must work past temporary pain in order to secure expertise. Perseverance is to have spiritual patience.

Self Control

A loss of 克己 (Kèjǐ)  self control can be disastrous in the dojang and in daily life. However, the tenet of self control is more about adopting a mindset that allows you to focus and apply yourself to the best of your ability. This tenet is not only about not doing the wrong thing - but doing the right thing when the time comes. Self control is to seek spiritual discipline.

Indomitable Spirit

百折不屈 (Bǎi zhé bùqū) indomitable Spirit is that which allows you to be unconquerable, to never be dominated. You submerge yourself on the path in order to draw from the wellspring of your practice. To be broken a hundred times yet refusing to yield. It is the spirit of courage.

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Rick Matz said…
It seems that there is the concept of Budo in TWD. What is the Korean term for it?
Colin Wee said…
Hey Rick - I think the equivalent in Korean is Mudo. But then I don't speak Korean. :-) Colin

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