The obvious ways we talk about the tenets usually has to do with what actions you can take to demonstrate them in and out of the Taekwon-Do school. Unfortunately some people (in order to make up for their own shortcomings) use the tenets by pointing out in an accusatory way, where others are NOT using them in order to make themselves look better or feel better about themselves. You may know someone who displays this fake righteousness.
Regardless, I want to create with you a new way to approach the tenets that will open your eyes to new thoughts, actions and possibilities.
You could say that for many Taekwon-Do practitioners (especially students), the tenets are mainly used when one is reminded of them and the tenets occur as something you only do from time to time.
Mostly we occasionally “do” courtesy or “do” perseverance. We draw upon the tenets when they seem to fit or might benefit a particular situation that life has presented.
I know that when someone cuts me off in traffic and I have to slam on my brakes, nearly missing a collision, and jarring my family in the car… what automatically flies out of my mouth usually has nothing to do with courtesy. In that moment I have no concern for what the guy in front of me is dealing with, if he is in a hurry, or if he just didn’t see me.
I just react. And so do you.
I’m sure you can think of many times when your reactions weren’t consistent with the tenets. I don’t bring this up so you can beat yourself up about it, but just to point out that EVERYONE does it.
So if everyone “has their moments”, what can we do to change the way we react?
The answer is, by intentionally creating the context you are operating your life in rather than being a reaction to what is going on around you. We have default contexts (ways we view the world) that have been developed over time, and that are already and always there. I can’t tell you what yours are because I haven’t lived your life, but they are there.
The good news and the bad news is that the context you are operating from colors, shapes and impacts everything. Have you ever had something you said taken out of context, or heard something out of context?
Last Sunday at a family dinner I walked into a room of women talking and heard, “…after three kids it’s just not the same down there!”
I immediately walked out.
I later found out that (context) they we’re talking about a pediatrician’s office.
Ok, back to the tenets!
Rather than having the tenets be something that you have to think about and act on from time to time, you can create the tenets as a context for life, as something you begin to THINK FROM.
What do I mean by “think from”? I mean, using the tenets like a filter that you look at life through.
Take a minute or two with each one of these and notice what begins to come up for you.
In the context of courtesy, how would you handle being stuck in traffic or in a long line when you’re in a hurry?
In the context of integrity, how would handle the promises that you’ve made to yourself that only you know about? You know, things like that diet you keep thinking about…
In the context of perseverance, what actions would you take to become a highly successful and highly paid school owner?
In the context of self-control, how would you handle being upset?
In the context of indomitable spirit, what actions are there for you to take to fulfill your dreams? Even the dreams you’ve given up on in the past.
When you begin to think from something it impacts everything… your thoughts, feelings and actions are all impacted and you will often find that there are new things possible in areas of life that you hadn’t ever seen or considered before.
Try taking on one tenet a day and notice what new thoughts and actions show up.
This is one of the reasons why our Leadership Program is so successful. In addition to the tenets we have 12 Leadership Life Skills and focus on one each month. It’s amazing what happens when kids as young as four can be taught to think from something like courage.
About the Author:
Mr. Karstadt is the founder of 1 TKD Consulting and owns the longest running ITF Taekwon-Do school in Arizona, Karstadt Taekwon-Do in Phoenix, AZ with his father Master David Karstadt. He has been training since 1984, earned his Black Belt at the age of 8 and is currently an internationally renown intstructor teaching the culture, discipline, leadership and business skills of Taekwon-Do in classes and seminars to Instructors around the world. He has been a member of eight U.S. Taekwon-Do Teams and has traveled to 14 different countries competing in Taekwon-Do. He has won numerous medals at the World Championships and in international competition, most notably winning the 2004 World Championships in South Korea with two gold medals and the Men’s Team All Around Trophy. Mr. Karstadt currently resides in uptown Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and three children. Mr. Karstadt can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org