The purpose of practising the Art of TaeKwon-Do as General Choi intended applies differently to the student and to the instructor. However, there is a general and fundamental mission that needs to be reminded just as we remind ourselves of the Tenets and Members Code.
Before we dive into the heart of the topic, let us recall that practising TaeKwon-Do has the direct outcome of improving our lives and encouraging others to do the same so that mutually the world gradually becomes happier and more peaceful. Then arises the question, why do we exercise our body along with our mind to execute powerful and sometimes lethal techniques that could potentially hurt other individuals? Wouldn’t there be an alternative that is non-physical such as a religion that teaches us to be happy and be courteous to others? Although training the mind may deem enough, our bodies deteriorate as we age, which weakens our mind because when the body is unhealthy it affects our nerves that send signals to our brain. Therefore it is necessary to train the body and mind simultaneously.
Learning the Art’s techniques arms the practitioner a powerful and deadly weapon. Should he or she walk an immoral path, it would equip a potential criminal with tools and skills that harm the society. Mastering the techniques and using them the wrong way could result in extreme consequences and lives lost. Similar to possession of arms, one could use a gun to save herself or her family’s lives or it could be used immorally to murder somebody. Hence, the Art of TaeKwon-Do is not for everyone and most definitely not for ill-minded individuals.
For the student, the objective is simply to learn the Art, progress technically and mentally, following the Tenets as an ethical, moral individual. As she transitions and promotes to a black belt first degree, she will learn to set an example as a role model for other colour belts and begins her journey to lead those junior to her who need guidance. Whether she becomes an instructor and starts her own dojang or not, she will gain instructor experience, knowledge and wisdom inevitably, especially during the 1st to the 3rd degree. As soon as she steps into the realm of leading a dojang of her own, the complexity is multiplied.
As the chief instructor, it is no longer only about training her own mind or body. It is now about leading and educating the students the values the federation and TaeKwon-Do stand for, managing other instructors—their teaching skills and their mentality as an instructor, managing the finances of the dojang, the business of it as well as balancing between promoting the business and preserving the ethical and moral principles constructed by General Choi. One of the challenges is to maintain good spirit amongst her fellow instructors. They are not only her students but they are instructors themselves. This is a special relationship and needs meticulous nurturing. However, the greatest challenge she will face is whether she will walk the corporate path and prioritizing the business over the ethics. Many schools or even federations differ from LITF in this aspect because of how the focus of TaeKwon-Do has deflected to the business side, neglecting on the fundamental values that TaeKwon-Do was founded on. Examples are charging students an absurdly unfair fee for certain processes in their training, like examination fees or certificate fees. It is true that in our society there is the need to survive through work and income to earn money, a tender to exchange between goods and services. Without money, we return to the basic trading method, barter. A good for another good or service. How would life be if we tag a cow along the street just to buy some food? Money is a necessity and so is keeping the dojang profitable in order to continue spreading the beautiful Art. The chief instructor has to bear the responsibility of keeping TaeKwon-Do economical and affordable by the mass while making a profit without forfeiting the moral and ethical values. This could be done and LITF will support its Members in achieving this objective.
To conclude, on a daily basis, both the student or the instructor need to continually train her mind and body, educating others correctly and leading a spectacular life while maintaining and protecting the TaeKwon-Do’s original values as she trains or teaches under the same moral and ethic code.