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Korean Taekwondo Association Rules of Etiquette

1. THE GREETING There are two types of greetings in Taekwondo; the standing greeting (bow) & the kneeling greeting. Rendering standing greetings when a superior enters the room. Rendering kneeling greetings when after the standing greeting, if the superior sits on the floor. The standing greeting starts with the feet together.

Arms to the side, fingers curled toward the legs so that the index fingers are touching the thumbs. Back straight, head and eyes to the front. To render a greeting with a bow: the back bent forward 15 degrees; head bent forward 45 degrees. After the bow, return to the standing position. To render a sitting greeting: by moving to the kneeling position; knees together, move the arms to the front & bend forward, place head on hands, then returns to the kneeling position.


Before each training session, salute the flags with a low respectful bow. After saluting the flag, the lower ranking students must greet their superiors in order of rank, first the school master, the teacher, & then the individuals with a higher level of proficiency than oneself. During the training session, a student's behavior shall have control and show a high level of courtesy. Student uniforms will at all times be in serviceable condition. Uniforms will not to be worn in public except when absolutely necessary. It is important for the student to use discretion when speaking during the training session. Students should always use words implying respect & honor when speaking to a superior. The superiors do not have to be so careful in their selection of words when speaking to students of lesser rank. While practitioners of Taekwondo are in uniform, the symbol of rank within the system takes precedence over respect for elders. However, when not in uniform, respect for age takes precedence over rank.

3. WEARING THE UNIFORM Uniform neatness and cleanliness are of the utmost importance. During the training session, if an individual's uniform is to become out of place, he is to stop momentarily & turn so that others will not be able to see, then adjust the uniform. After the adjustments made, he returns to the practice.

4. HOME & SOCIAL BEHAVIOR While in the home, at work, or while at social functions, it is important for the student to demonstrate high moral standards, and to show appropriate respect and consideration to others.

5. ETIQUETTE IN SPEECH High levels of speech should always imply while speaking. The back should be straight, & the general attitude should be formal. The choice of words is important, being words of courtesy and respect. The voice should not be loud, & abusive words are not be tolerated. The student should be careful not to spit while speaking. The individual should not lose his integrity, wit, or sense of humor. The speaker should ensure to use the correct title for the person he is speaking too. Listening is essential & shows respect. It is not appropriate to stare or interrupt. It is not appropriate to touch the individual you are speaking to, & it is not correct to use hand gestures.

6. APPEARANCE In social situations, it is important to be conscious of appearance. The type, fitting, & style of clothes should be conservative. During ceremonies & other formal occasions, the students of Taekwondo should always wear the appropriate attire. The shined shoes & a well-groomed appearance should be evident. In keeping with the rules of appearance, good habits result.

7. THE SEATING ARRANGEMENT WHILE IN CARS The designated driver for a formal occasion always opens the car door for the superior. However, in the rear seat, the lower ranking individual gets into the car first. So as to allow the superior to depart the vehicle first once they have reached their destination.

8. SPEAKING ON THE PHONE When calling someone, it is appropriate to state your name first, then asks for the person “to whom you wish to speak." When answering the telephone, state your name, then request the nature of the call. All conversations kept brief & to the point. It is important to have a note pad near the telephone in case there is a need to copy urgent messages.  

9. TABLE MANNERS When at the dinner table, all guests wait until the senior gives the signal to begin any course by picking up their silver-ware. When in small groups, all must be served, before eating cannot commence. However, at very large gatherings or parties, the guests began eating when given their plates, so the food does not get cold. Keep conversation's general at a small table. At a long table, it's OK to break the conversations up into two groups or more if feasible. At a business lunch or dinner, the guest waits for the host to start the business discussion. Do not put elbows on the table when eating, but it is appropriate to put elbows on the table when in conversations between courses. Sit straight in the chair and do not blow on hot food for cooling.

10. INTRODUCTIONS Introductions governed by three basic rules, & can be implemented in most situations. Introduce a male to a female, introduce an adult to a much older one of the same sex, & introduce the lower rank to the higher rank. Their introduction should be brief & not wordy or awkward. The host always shakes the hands of the guests upon arrival & departure. Females always have the choice to shake hands or not. Males should always shake hands with other males to whom being introduced, unless it is awkward to do so, for example leaning across others while seated at the dinner table.

11. VISITING Prior to visiting someone, an appointment should be made. Do not show up uninvited. Make it a point never to visit on holidays or Sundays, early in the morning, late at night, at meal time or day of inclement weather, unless specifically invited. Make the visits short, remember that you are guest, thank the host (ess) before to departing, it is a Korean custom to bring a gift when visiting someone’s home. The gift may only be: fruit, drink, flowers, etc.., or something to show your gratitude to be an invited guest.

12. GUIDING A HIGHER RANKING PERSON When guiding a higher ranking person, walk to the front with slightly bent forward posture; this shows respect. At meetings be attentive to the needs of the superior, for example if he should need a pen or pad of paper. If not escorting a superior or superior's family, but are with a superior, always walk to the rear, open doors for the superior, and be attentive to the needs as previously mentioned.

13. SEATING ARRANGEMENTS AT CEREMONIES While at formal ceremonies: the seat of honor is to the right of the chairperson, then the next highest position is to their left. At social gatherings, with a speaker present, the highest ranking persons have an opportunity to speak after the speaker. The highest ranking person will leave a crowded room first when the ceremony is over, followed by the others in order of rank.

14. DRINKING AND SMOKING It is the privilege of the individual to drink as much as he or she wants in private. Showing the effects of too much to drink in public is totally unacceptable because in one way or another a drunk is always a problem. Never smoke in any place of worship or a religious ceremony out of doors; while in court; during the playing of the national anthem; or during the raising or lowering of the national flag. When greeting someone, remove cigarette from your mouth.

15. BEHAVIOR OF THE INSTRUCTORS The Taekwondo instructor (s) is to set the example for their students to follow. Instructors help their students to find solutions to their problems. Instructors should refrain from speaking to their students as though giving order, but is to be humble and sincere. Instructors are to avoid violence & the appearance of a pleasure seeker. Instructors should live a clean & productive life free of drugs & alcohol. They should involve themselves in community functions, practice justice, and unselfishness.

16. BEHAVIOR DURING SOCIAL EVENTS In the event of social activities seating of head table will include not just the senior belts but also spouses. Recognize spouses & parents of senior belts with the same respect. Most Korean customs apply to most Taekwondo social events. If you have any questions or doubts on proper mannerisms please contact your instructor. If you are attending a social event especially were Korean instructors are to be present, ask questions before. Many of our norms maybe conceived in the wrong manner. As long as it seems you are making an honest effort. Most Koreans are honored in making an on the spot correction. Bottom line is to behave with self-respect, for you represent not only yourself but your dojang.


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