Has Taekwon-do recently become so compromised that rank and status have
become more important than honour and integrity?
I've trained in Taekwon-do for more than 40 years now and I’ve made it my life.
All I ever wanted to do was train. Ranks were never my primary goal.
They were never that important to. They still don't drive me.
A belt is simply a piece of cloth we wear around our waists.
It doesn’t measure the quality of our character and today, in my opinion it
doesn’t even measure the true skill of the wearer. Many students who do have a
Dan/Degree rank often believe they’re better than the rank they're wearing
when in fact they are barely scratching the surface of true knowledge.
I’m considered a Master in Taekwon-do and Grand Master by many others
but when I sit and talk to GRAND MASTER PARK JONG SOO, I am a mere
white belt in comparison. I would gladly give up every one of my degrees
that I've earned over the last 40 plus years and wear a white belt with pride
to train with a man of his knowledge, skill, qualifications, ethics and integrity.
I’ve tried my very best to instill a similar code of ethics into each and
every one of my students. I do not claim to be of superior ability to anyone
nor do I claim to be a gifted martial artist. I am a mere mortal trying his
very best to teach not only the skills but also develop the character of the students
who are willing to learn the true meaning of Taekwon-do as it was
intended by our founder General Choi Hong Hi.
The ultimate goal of any martial arts practitioner should not be one of gaining status
of rank or position, but in the development of one’s own virtues and character.
General Choi once said, “Pain is the best instructor, but no one wants to go to his class.”
Let’s all who train in Taekwon-do put the meaning of the Tenets of Taekwon-do
back where it belongs, within each one of us. Train not power, not for rank and
not for position, for these things will come with sweat, hard work and most importantly
with time. I’ve been tested by the best Grand Masters and Masters in the world.
I’ve earned my ranks and paid with real blood, lots of sweat and many many tears.
We should be judged not by our abilities but by the choices we make.
TENETS OF TAEKWON-DO
Ye Ui • Yom Chi • In Nae • Guk Gi • Baekjul Boolgool