The Five Tenets of Taekwondo

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The Five Tenets of Taekwondo

Many traditional martial arts have a set of underlying principles and/or basic martial arts philosophy that helps to guide a student's behavior and progress.

This section focuses on the five basic tenets that serve as a guide for all Taekwondo students who are part of the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF).

ITF Taekwondo Tenets

  1. Courtesy (Korean - Ye Ul) - To be courteous is to show excellence of manners and social conduct and to exhibit polite behavior. Examples in Taekwon-Do might be to distinguish instructor from student,senior from junior and elder from younger, and to maintain the appropriate etiquette at all times, both within and outside the dojang (training hall 도장).
  2. Integrity (Korean - Yom Chi) - To adhere to moral and ethical principles and to be able to define right from wrong. A Taekwon-Do instructor who misrepresents himself and his art by presenting improper techniques to his students because of a lack of knowledge, or a student who 'fixes' breaking materials before a demonstration, would show no sign of possessing integrity.
  3. Perseverance (Korean - In Nae) - A steady persistence in a course of action, in spite of any difficulties, obstacles or discouragement. In Taekwon-Do, one must set a goal and then constantly persevere to achieve this.
  4. Self-Control (Korean - Guk Gi) - The ability to control or restrain oneself, or one's actions or feelings. This is one of the most important of the Taekwon-Do tenents both inside and outside the dojang. A loss of self control in the dojang can prove disastrous for both student and opponent, and likewise outside the dojang during daily life.
  5. Indomitable Spirit (Korean - Baekjul Boolgool) - An attribute shown when a courageous person and his principles are pitted against overwhelming odds. If confronted with injustice, the Taekwon-Do student will deal with the belligerent without any fear or hesitation at all, with indomitable spirit, regardless of whosoever and however many the number may be.


  1. Tenets of Taekwondo are courtesy of Maynooth Taekwon-Do,, Added - 2/17/14

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