“One must teach mental training and techniques equally.”
-General Choi, Hong Hi
I can safely say that I’ve been around the block a time or two which has given me the opportunity to meet Taekwon-Do practitioners around the world, and I can confidently say that for the most part, we’re a pretty nice bunch of people.
However, there are also enough stories (formerly and currently) of students being taken advantage of by their masters, bridges burned and loyalties divided to to start a reality television show.
I’m a realist and I understand that not everyone is going to get along, which is fine. They never have and they never will. Today there are many options for instructors who wish to be a part of an ITF organization. But one can only imagine what the Taekwon-Do world would look like if those in leadership practiced the DO towards each other. I’m sure there would have still been a split after the death of Gen. Choi, but it would have happened with much less drama and animosity towards others.
I don’t write this to make anyone wrong for why we have the current state of affairs we currently find ourselves in, rather I want to point out that the DO is sorely missing in our community as whole.
The DO is often overlooked in Taekwon-Do training because it’s easier to kick and punch than it is to control your thoughts and emotions, or to treat others as you wish to be treated. This type of mental training is critical for humanity, especially to the Taekwon-Do student who often who recites the oath regularly.
“This moral culture is uniquely tied in with Taekwon-Do, not only for the eventual attainment of the highest goals in Taekwon-Do and the promotion of power, technique, and self-confidence, but also for the cultivation of character. Without this, the instructor would be guilty of imparting a devastating force to those who could eventually become so enamored of their newly found techniques they might very easily become bullies or use this knowledge as a means to achieve their personal ambitions.”
-General Choi, Hong Hi
Living the DO is a process. It is given a lot of lip service, but is not widely practiced. There are many who think they can just go out and occasionally be a nice person, lean on the tenets when it only when it suits them, spout of some quotes from Confucius and Lao Tzu, and say they’re living the DO.
It is something that General Choi knew was not being emphasized enough in Taekwon-Do, and as a result he translated and created his Moral Guide Book and began speaking more about it in the last few years of his life.
The DO is a moral lifestyle defined by universal principles that have stood the test of time and that can be practiced and accepted by anyone regardless of race, religion, ideology or national boundary. It requires a commitment to research and study into the great visionaries, leaders and philosophers of humanity’s past.
When you have a deep understanding of why they said what they said and believed what they believed, you have access to knowing why you are doing what you are doing – or why you should be doing what you should be doing.
Taekwon-Do schools around the world WOULD be a great place for people to get these teachings, but most instructors don’t live the DO themselves and would be hard pressed to pass that kind of an education and lifestyle on to their students.
I don’t blame them for not making it a priority for their students due to the fact that it was most likely not a priority for their instructor either.
Given all that… NOW WHAT?
We have an opportunity ahead of us to truly fulfill on Gen. Choi’s legacy by making the DO an integral part of our student’s training and to build a more peaceful world.
This is why I created the Living the “DO“ faceboook page.
I want to make it easy for instructors to have a resource that can help them get present to, practice, and pass along this knowledge to their students. Also, the Living the DO page is for anyone interested in becoming aware of The DO for their personal benefit whether they practice Taekwon-Do or not.
In the short time that the page has been up it’s popularity has been shocking. As of the writing of this post, the page already received over 500 likes and counting!
I invite you to check it out and share your thoughts.
There is an extraordinary opportunity here for us as leaders to improve ourselves, to pass this knowledge on to our students and… to Live the DO!
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 email@example.com