Where Soo Bahk Do teaches us how to defend ourselves, the philosophies of the Moo Duk Kwan teach us how to better ourselves. As a balanced martial art, there is equal emphasis placed on what we practice and on how we practice. Anyone can learn to kick and punch, but to do so with the correct attitude, intent and discipline is what sets a good martial artist apart from a street thug, and gives meaning and purpose to our training.
To develop this aspect of ourselves, we must be aware of our conduct, body language and overall demeanour at all times. Within the dojang there are certain rules, or protocols, that keep our training under control and in harmony with those around us. Watch your instructor and the senior students and learn from the way they conduct themselves. The way we conduct ourselves inside the dojang should be reflected in who we are in our everyday life; the skills and lessons learned on the dojang floor should not be forgotten when the class ends.
Moo Duk Kwan philosophy teaches us how to 'polish the soul'
Bowing in Soo Bahk Do is of the utmost importance as it is a sign of both discipline and respect. Our training involves dangerous combat techniques and without personal discipline and respect for others, the techniques may be used in a negative manner. The physical action of bowing shows a constant mental awareness and concentration. Bowing shows respect towards yourself, your partner, what you are doing and towards the art itself.
When to bow
Arriving and preparing for class
Your punctuality shows discipline and respect to your instructor, fellow students and yourself. Be sure to arrive early to prepare for class.
Accessories such as jewellery, watches, earrings, wristbands, etc are not permitted during lessons as they can lead to injury. Good personal hygiene is important as it shows respect for yourself and does not discomfort other students (this includes keeping toenails and fingernails trimmed). Women are permitted to wear white (or a colour matching the trim of their uniform) sports bra of shirt under their uniform.
Addressing a senior student or instructor
When speaking with a fellow student or instructor, always use their correct title, and if you are unsure, use Sir or Ma'am. This is not as showing of subservience, rather a way of showing respect.
When standing in class, always be aware of your surroundings and who is near you. Seniors will be the first to line up, starting from the front right of the do jang, and junior levels fall-in alongside them. Maintaining a straight line during the lesson is a good way of developing awareness of what is happening around you; be aware of how you move as an individual and as part of a group.
All classes begin on time; don't be late. Do not be late.
Do - Bring a bottle of water to class.
Do not - Disrupt the class by stopping to drink when you feel like it. Instead, wait for a class break when everyone gets a drink together.
Do - Bring your uniform top and belt in a bag and change at the dojang.
Do not - Wear your full uniform outside the dojang. Always avoid drawing unwanted attention to yourself.
Do - Bring a towel to class.
Do not - Wipe your sweat on your training partner's sleeve.
Do - Keep your uniform in good condition. A well kept uniform reflects your attitude towards your training.
Do not - Wear your uniform while mowing the lawn, painting your house, etc.
Do - Learn to tie your belt correctly.
Do not - Wash your belt or let it drop on the floor. Always treat it with respect.
Do - Train hard and with good intent. Use the skills you learn to protect yourself, your loved ones and those who cannot protect themselves.
Do not - Use your skills to show off or to bring unwanted attention to yourself. Do not become the bully.
Do - Arrive early for class.
Do not - Be late.