The philosophy of WTF Taekwondo closely follows the movements of human beings and their activities. The ancient Korean martial principles promoted the fusion of mind, body and life. The life of a human being consists of numerous movements and changes. With these principles in mind, it is possible to promote Taekwondo as a philosophy in itself. In order to understand and learn this philosophy, we must involve ourselves in practicing Taekwondo and the end result will be an improved quality of life. The philosophy of Sam Jae, which is the three elements and Eum/Yang (negative force/positive force) are the main principles. The three elements (Sam Jae) consist of In (man), Ji (earth) and Chon (earth). This principle is said to represent the changes and transformations that occur within the world that we live in.The ‘Book of Changes’ speaks of the ‘Eight Trigrams for Divination’ (pictured right). This is made up of Sam Jae and the interactions between Eum and Yang. Korea and other oriental countries closely follow this philosophy. This spiritual aspect of the philosophy of Taekwondo will allow an individual to truly explore the art and gain a deep understanding of other meanings in life. The idea that every entity has an opposite i.e. Eum and Yang is manifested in many of the patterns within WTF Taekwondo.Taegeuk which means ‘the great absolute’ proposes that Eum and Yang are ultimately the same thing. By using these principles, the individual develops an ability to find solutions to problems and adapt to challenging situations, thereby developing a deeper understanding of life.The indigenous Han tribe documented thought processes that have lasted through the decades and these ideas form key morals of Taekwondo. They originate from Tangun Chosun’s foundation of Korea. The story follows that Hwan Wung was a son of heaven and he established Baedal (the earliest name of Korea). His purpose for the foundations of Korea followed the principles of Hongik Ingan and Jaese Ihwa. Hongik Ingan is an idea that promotes the care and well being of the human race. Taekwondo uses this to promote the development of a more just and peaceful world and reduce harmful behaviours. Jaese Ihwa suggests that the ways of the world are educated according to the principles of heaven. It promotes the theory that mankind can be educated with the lessons and behaviours of a heavenly world via correct development with the spirit of Taekwondo. This belief was conveyed through to the Hwarangdo and eventually incorporated into the Taekwondo philosophy of the modern day.These principles build the Taekwondo philosophy or "spirit" (five tenets and creed/oath):
1. Courtesy (Ye Lu)
To promote the spirit of mutual concessions. To be polite to one another. To encourage a sense of justice. To distinguish master from instructor from student and senior from junior. Showing proper respect for all higher belts and kindness to others.
2. Integrity (Yom Chi)
In TaeKwonDo, integrity means being able to define right from wrong, and have the conscience if wrong, to feel guilt. Never Lie or make a promise that you do not keep. Examples of a lack of integrity: The instructor who misrepresents himself and his art by presenting improper techniques to his students because of lack of his/her own training, knowledge, or because of apathy. Student who misrepresents himself by "fixing" breaking material. Student who requests rank from an instructor, or attempts to purchase rank. Student who gains rank for ego purposes or the feeling of power. Instructor who promotes the art for materialistic gains.
3. Perseverance (In Nae)
There is an old Oriental saying, "Patience leads to virtue or merit". A serious student must learn not to be impatient; to continue steadfast, to persevere. Keep trying until you succeed.
4. Self Control (Guk Gi)
This tenet is extremely important inside and outside of the Do Jang whether conducting ones' self in free-sparring or in ones' personal affairs. A loss of ones' self control can prove disastrous to both student and opponent. An inability to work within ones' capability is also lack of self control.
5. Indomitable Spirit (Baekjul Boolgool)
A serious student will at all times be modest and honest. If confronted with injustice, he will deal with the belligerent without fear or hesitation and, with an indomitable spirit, regardless of whomever or how many the number may be.
The oath is as follows:
(Kwan Won Sun-So)
-We as Members:
- We as Practitioners: Train our bodies and spirits, in accordance with the prescribed rules;
Stand united in mutual friendship;
-We as Practitioners:
Fulfill the regulations, obey to the instructors and higher ranked ones.