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Tang Soo Do Etiquette
Of the many aspects of Tang Soo Do, few are as essential to proper training in the art as etiquette. The key to success in any martial art is the development of mental and physical well-being. In conjunctions with these qualities, a student must learn proper respect. Learning and practicing etiquette is the key to attaining respect and discipline in Tang Soo Do.
Tang Soo Do distinguishes itself from many other martial arts
through its practice of simple, traditional martial art etiquette within a
structured training program. These "manners" extend themselves, like all aspects of Tang Soo Do, into each student's everyday life.
Etiquette in Tang Soo Do is a subtle way to show quiet respect. By simply shaking a master's hand correctly or waiting for a senior to be seated first, one can show respect. In this way, Tang Soo Do students practice humility and respect towards one another. Likewise, the use of etiquette also moves from teacher to student, as well as from student to teacher. From this mutual respect arises the concept of "military brotherhood in training" which is the sense of brotherhood and pride that occurs within a school. This "glue," which binds the students together like a family, can only be attained by respect and the practice of
traditional etiquette between those who train in the martial arts.
In addition to being a show of quiet respect and humility, the practice of etiquette has proven itself to be an essential element used in the preservation of Tang Soo Do and its traditional Korean roots. By passing down the concepts and forms of respect, the art has endured, and lives on in its present form.
Entering the Dojang: Upon entering the Dojang, pause by the entrance; face the flags and salute by holding the right hand open and across the chest with palm facing the heart and bow in the direction of the flags. This demonstrates respect and appreciation of our country, our style, our training and the country of origin of the art of Tang Soo Do. The act of bowing is also a sign of your commitment to your training. You should perform this discipline upon entering and leaving the Dojang.
General Situation in the Dojang: Upon entering the Dojang one must show respect by personal preparation. Cease talking and try to to acquire a quiet state both mentally and physically. Turn your thoughts towards training. All this creates an atmosphere of “Jong Sook” quite internal peace. As you enter the Dojang, you must recognize every senior member by bowing. Standing at attention and bowing from the waist about 45 degrees perform the appropriate bow. The senior member will bow in return. While in the Dojang, upon the entrance of a senior member, you must recognize him/her with a bow from the attention position. Junior members always bows to senior first. The senior member, in accordance, bows back.
Late Entrance: When a student arrives late and enters the Dojang after the class has begun, the student follows this protocol: Quietly enter the Dojang and stand by the door. First bow in the direction of the flags. Then remain at an attention position by the door until you are recognized by your instructor. After recognition from the instructor, is achieved, bow to the instructor and walk behind the other members of the class to assume your appropriate position with the class.
Receiving Instruction: At any time before, after or during class, when the instructor or any senior member offers personal correction of instruction to a junior member must bow and repeat “Thank you Sir/Ma’am”. This show appreciation and respect. A junior member should refrain from correcting a senior member in the Dojang.At the end of the class after the closing ceremonies, all class members should bow to their instructor.
QuestionsDuring the class, If a student has a question, they must raise their hand. When the instructor recognizes him/her, the student must stand at attention, bow, and ask the question. After the answer is received, the student will bow and say “Thank you Sir/Ma’am”.
Leaving Class During the class, If a student has to be excused from class, the student will raise their hand to gain recognition from the instructor. After getting permission from the instructor, the student bow and leave, making sure not to walk in front of senior members. On returning, the student must stand at attention on the outskirts of the room until recognized by the instructor. Once recognized by the instructor, the student will bow and rejoin the class.
Entering the Dojang: During the class, upon entrance of the Sa Bom Nim or the Chief instructor, the most senior member of the class will call the class to attention “Cha Ryut” and command “Kyung Ret” * The class will then recognize the Sa Bom Nim with a bow.
Entering the Office:
1. Never walk into your instructor’s office unannounced. Always knock first at the door and wait for instructions.
2. Upon seeing the instructor, the student bows from the attention position.
3. Student stands until recognize by the instructor.
4. Student remains standing at attention during conversation unless otherwise
instructed by the Sa Bom/Kyo Sa, (if asked to be seated, student may sit and then
5. It is the instructors responsibility to show respect to his/her student by
extending the courtesy to him/her to be seated before the conversation begins.
6. When the conversation is concluded, the student thanks the instructor and
proceeds to walk backwards (not showing their back to the instructor) until they
reach the door. The student bows before exiting.
7. No student should seat themselves at the instructors desk at any time.
(Whether in the presence or absence of the instructor.)
The conversation between the instructor and the student should always
maintain a tone of respect and the words “Sir/Ma’am” should be used regardless
if you are in or out of your Do Bok.
At a Social Event (restaurant):
1. The student should be in the restaurant earlier than the expected arrival of the instructor.
2. When the instructor arrives, all students should rise and greet the instructor with a bow.
3. The instructor should be seated first and the students should begin to be seated rotating from the left side of the instructor to the right according to seniority.
Seniors sit down first others follow. If already seated, the student should stand and remain standing until all their seniors are seated.
4. Placement of seating is flexible. However it is usual for the seniors to be placed next to the instructor. (This is not a rigid rule.)
5. Students should not smoke or drink alcohol while the instructor is present,unless the instructor gives their prior permission.
6. When the food is served the student should wait until the instructor starts to eat and then the student may begin. If a student has the opportunity to be in the presence of the Grandmaster, proper attire must be worn (suits, ties for men and dresses, suits and appropriate pant outfits for women). Of course the Grandmaster can waive formal, and semiformal attire at his discretion.
Communicating through phone:
1. Continuation of class manners and discipline should be extended when talking over the phone to your instructor.
2. Student should use “Sir/Ma’am”.
Communicating by letter or Email:
1. Addressing the letter: When writing a letter always include the title of the person whether they are your senior or junior. If they have no title, use the title Mr.,
Mrs., Miss or Ms.
1. Seniors writing to juniors: Do not include the “Nim”. example: Kyo Sa John Doe
2. Juniors writing to seniors: Include the “Nim”. example: Kyo Sa Nim John Doe
1. Seniors writing to juniors: Include the official Title but do not include the “Nim”. example: Dear Kyo Sa John Doe
a. Seniors writing to juniors: (if the relationship warrants) may use the first name example: Dear John
b. The proper name with no title except Mr., Ms., Miss, Mrs. May also be used example: Dear Mrs. Johnson
2. Juniors writing to seniors: Always Include the official title (including “Nim”) and the proper name. example: Dear Sa Bom Nim John Doe
Closing or Signing of the Letter or Email:
When writing to a senior no matter how high your rank, you sign just your name and not your rank and position example: Sincerely, John Doe
A junior shows disrespect to a senior by signing a letter “Master John Doe” or “Kyo Sa John Doe” it is better to be humble and not flaunt your title.
1. Senior writing to his junior: Never uses Master, Mr., Sa Bom, or Kyo Sa in front of his name. As a courtesy, he may give an official title or position such as “Chairman” or his school name example: Sincerely, or Sincerely, John Doe John Doe Chairman Doe’s Tang Soo Do
2. Junior Writing to his senior: No rank, title, or position may be given, but an example of your relationship as a student or a junior may be given example: