Google “courtesy” and this is what you’ll get:

“noun:   the showing of politeness in one’s attitude and behavior toward others.”

Courtesy is “the” very first tenet of Taekwondo.  It is number one because of some of the things we learn to defend ourselves.

Imagine, for example, someone learning various techniques that can hurt others.  Then imagine that this person is not a nice person.  This sounds like a bully and a dangerous person.

Think about it?

As martial artists, we are held to a higher standard by others and ourselves, because we know that without courtesy, we can be a danger to others.

This week, look for examples of courtesy at your school, at home, at the mall, and everywhere.  Share what you saw so that others can have a better understanding of the number one tenet of Taekwondo.

Kenneth S. Yi--a true black belt

Kenneth S. Yi–a true black belt

It is hard to believe and difficult to accept the passing of a fellow Koryo Family Taekwondo Center black belt and friend–Kenneth S. Yi.

Who is Kenneth S. Yi?

To the instructors of Koryo Family Taekwondo Center he is a caring family dentist, a sincere family friend, and the embodiment of a true black belt and martial artist.

As one of Dr. Yi’s patients, I know he takes time to meet you at his clinic’s waiting area, and once on a dental chair he’ll take time to check how things are with you and your family–showing genuine concern for everyone’s well-being.

Kenneth S. Yi is a very giving family friend.  Two years ago, after learning of my grandson’s first Christmas play, which was scheduled during the Taekwondo classes, he offered to cover the classes for me.  This allowed me to enjoy a one time only event which I would have otherwise missed.  Ken is a successful dentist and business owner.  Whenever he got a chance, he dropped words of wisdom to my kids, who are young adults, one of which has dreams of becoming a dentist as well.  Ken also openly shared with us some of his common sense business growth knowledge to help our own business.  In September 2013, when my father passed away, Ken was again there, willing to offer help to cover classes on days he was free; we never took him on that offer, but instead closed the school for the duration.  Nevertheless, this shows how much of a true friend Ken can be.

Ken embodies the characteristics of a true black belt and martial artist as he clearly abides by the six tenets of Tae Kwon Do–courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, indomitable spirit, and victory.  Although he is already a successful dentist and business owner, he treats everyone with respect and is very humble.  His word is his bond; when he says something, he does it.  He once said that if we ever needed help in covering a class to let him know; he’ll do what he can to help.  He has already proved that he keeps his word.  As a father of two kids, I’ve seen Ken take full responsibility of his children’s welfare as he and his father take time to bring the kids to classes periodically.  I would say that Ken isn’t a natural athlete, but his strong perseverance and determination carried him through the challenges he faced as he worked his way to black belt.  In my time being Ken’s instructor, I’ve never seen him lose his cool.  He is able to keep it together regardless of underlying pressure.  Our curriculum is comprehensive; it is both physically and mentally challenging; regardless, Ken set his goal for achieving the rank of 1st dan black belt, and did it.  When he trains in class, he gives it his best to the point that his uniform is soaking wet from sweat.  Because of his indomitable spirit, he is able to keep up and outpace some of the younger students.  Ken’s attitude about training radiates positive mental attitude; this helped him deal with the challenges as he journeyed his way up to black belt.  Ken is a first rate black belt; I see him on equal standing with any martial artists out there, regardless of their rank.

Kenneth S. Yi will be missed by the Koryo Family Taekwondo Center family, as well as the Forlanda family.  His passing is a great loss for everyone, but we will never forget him as his spirit lives on within all of us.



Tae Kwon Do

At the school where I used to teach, we start every class by reciting the tenets of Taekwondo.

“Tenets of Taekwondo: courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, indomitable spirit, victory”

What is the purpose of reciting it, and what is the tenet’s purpose?

We recite the tenets every class so that you never forget what they are.  By repetition, we ingrain them in your mind.

Now, it doesn’t do anyone any good if you know the tenets but don’t really know their purpose.  The tenets provide a general guideline of behavior and action.  In life, there are way too many situations to dictate all possible responses.  These tenets are general enough so that the martial artist can make the best decision about how to handle almost any situation.

By knowing them and applying them, you can be on your way to becoming a better martial artist.

Recall the tenets of Taekwondo:

  • Courtesy – Be courteous and respectful of others; in short, be nice to others.
  • Integrity – People can depend on what you say and do; you can be trusted, and you are responsible.
  • Perseverance – In the face of adversity, you fight on and never give up; if you fail at something, you figure out what went wrong and keep moving forward.
  • Self-control – Sometimes anger can overcome one’s common sense or a strong impulse can cause one to lose control;  there are many temptations out there, and a strong self-control can keep you from doing the wrong thing.
  • Indomitable spirit – Set high goals and go for them; to succeed in life one must have a purpose–set them and go!
  • Victory – Having a positive mental attitude can help you overcome almost any situation; infact, it can help you learn!  Where one sees a problem, you should see an opportunity!