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.
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.
Entering or leaving the Do Jang
Upon entering or leaving the Do Jang, pause by the entrance, face the flags, and salute in the direction of the flags by holding the right hand open and across the chest with the palm facing the heart. This demonstrates respect and appreciation for our country, our style, and our training, and the country that produced the development of our style.
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.
If you arrive late to class, you should bow in as normal, and then stand politely and quietly at attention until you are recognised by the instructor. Your instructor will invite you to join when it is appropriate to do so.
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.
Sa Bom Nim – 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 rocker under their federation badge.
Kyo Sa Nim – 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 rocker under their federation badge.
Jo Kyo Nim – 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 rocker under their federation badge.
Ko Dan Ja Nim – Any Dan member of Master rank, 4th Dan and above. This person wears a midnight blue belt with a red stripe running through its length.
Yo Dan Ja Nim – Any Dan member of 1st to 3rd Dan rank. This person wears a midnight blue belt.