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.
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 entering and leaving the dojang.
- At the start and completion of any partner work.
- Prior to speaking to a senior member.
- At the end of a conversation or after an instruction from a senior member.
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. When you arrive early at the Dojang you should prepare yourself for class by starting to warm up your body and practice your techniques.
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 person
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.
A certified master instructor, 4th Dan and above. This person wears a midnight blue belt with a red stripe running through its length, and a title badge under their federation badge.
A certified senior instructor, 2nd or 3rd Dan. This person wears a midnight blue belt with either two or three white stripes, and a title badge under their federation badge.
A certified assistant instructor, 1st Gup to 1st Dan. This person wears either a red belt or midnight blue belt, and will have a title badge under their federation badge.
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.