A high degree of etiquette should be observed by students, both inside and outside the dojang. This should be applied by both lower ranking and senior students while training or when visiting another dojangs. In all cases, emphasis should be placed on correct and proper salutation. It is a form of respect and courtesy in western and Asian societies. It is in poor taste for a black belt to slight a beginning white belt who might very well be the instructor’s senior in both age and station. Students visiting other martial arts dojangs, must pay proper respect and observe the traits of modesty and courtesy at all times.
Etiquette is the most important, valuable and fundamental aspect in one’s life. Etiquette is that hidden element which comes spontaneously from within a person’s heart and is expressed in actions, behavior and/or speech. It is associated with personality and character building. Etiquette is not something, which is forced upon someone to abide by rules and regulations, but it is that element which flows naturally and automatically to make a person more readily accepted in our society. Etiquette enriches one’s quality of life and thus gives a person peace and tranquility not only to oneself but also to society at large.
Below is a suitable etiquette guide for various situations found from a variety of sources:
- At home or in public, always try to use proper language in your conversation and maintain proper language, (e.g. not slang). On all occasions, in whatever relationships you have (e.g. teacher-¬student) always maintain and display good etiquette.
Basics in the Dojang
- When students bow they must first stand to attention (feet form a 45 degree angle). Fists are lightly clenched, bending the elbows slightly. Bend the body forward 15 degrees.
- In the dojang, while sitting in the company of senior members (senior means higher ranking TKD students or an elderly person) one must maintain proper posture. In case of any senior member entering the room one must stand immediately and bow. You take your seat only after the senior member has sat down.
- When entering a dojang, bow first to the Instructor, then the assistant instructors and the flag. Even when visiting other Martial Arts dojangs, students must show proper respect and observe the traits of modesty and courtesy at all times.
- In the dojang, you should refrain from making excessive noise and attempt to build a serious training environment.
- Warm-up about 25 minutes before chief examiner arrives. Someone will conduct the warm-up.
- Members should be instructed on where to be seated and advised as to proper conduct.
- When to go to the restroom.
- Chief examiner arrives (nominate someone to watch for his arrival).
- Instructors must be dressed in the official dress uniform (unless required in dobok for the testing).
- The Instructors wait outside for the examiner. They walk in with the Examiner in accordance to their seniority with the Examiner at the front of the line.
- The Instructors line up at the front, facing forward to the students testing.
- All face the flag and bow (the senior student gives the commands).
- Student oath
- Bow to the chief examiner, bow to the instructors.
- The host Instructor introduces the examiner and instructors and advises people of the event.
- Those testing move back and are seated while the examiner is introduced to the instructors and guests if any. Black belt students are to be seated at the side of the venue.
- Testing begins.
- Instructors need to be seated where practical near the examiner for consultation. Only instructors are permitted to be seated at the examiner’s table. If your student is being examined, then sit next to the examiner so comments can be passed.
- All Black Belts of the school testing are to be present at the grading in the correct dress unless excused by the chief examiner.
- Black belts are to be seated in a suitable manner on the seating provided, share the task of ushering the students, remain alert and maintain the correct standards/discipline among the students testing.
- Finish with a speech from examiner & presentations, notices from visiting Instructors.
- Final procedure: The senior gives the commands as per the procedure for the end of class.
Dinner Table Etiquette
- Maintain proper seated position while eating.
- Wait for the senior member or any elderly person to start first.
- Do not stand or leave the table while eating without seeking permission to be excused.
- If you are the host, do not eat fast and finish before your guest who may still be eating.
- Do not take uninvited guests to a party.
Seating Arrangements during Social or Official Functions
- The middle is for the senior. The right side must be the second and left is the third. The fourth place is again at the right, etc.
- Ensure that you use the correct and appropriate language.
- When speaking to others, do not talk in an abrupt, violent or aggressive manner. Speak with humbleness.
- Always remember to address a person with a proper title.
- Always be a good listener. Do not cut in on someone else’s conversation. When giving an opinion, think very carefully beforehand.
- Do not point fingers at someone while talking and do not touch another person unnecessarily during the conversation.
- Ensure that you use the correct and appropriate language.
- Do not send unwanted jokes or email to your seniors.
- Do not provide your seniors or other Taekwon-Do students email addresses to others without their permission.
- If you are introduced by a friend to a senior black belt or instructor, let your friend complete the introduction first before you speak.
- When shaking hands, junior students must wait until the senior extends his hand first. A junior must never be the first to extend the hand to the senior.
- When shaking hands, do not hold too tight (or loose).
- Do not conduct surprise visits. Give plenty of notice before your intended visit.
- Avoid visiting early mornings or late nights, unless previously arranged.
- If when visiting, your host gives you indirect hints to leave (e.g. looking at his watch etc.) be considerate and leave.
- When visitors leave, see them from the premises by accompanying them to the gate or car. Await their departure before returning inside.