As in all Martial Arts, ethics are of great importance. One can look at individual ethics, treat a fellow-man right, or one can look at social ethics, as part of a whole.
Ethics basically all comes down to one point, the difference between 'good' and 'evil'. We practise taekwondo, often seen as an aggresive sport, but does this mean that we can be aggresive? Do we want to be aggresive? The answer is NO!
We wear protection, because we don't want someoneelse to be injured, nor do we want to get hurt ourselves. Taekwondo is not a destructive and aggressive sport, but a sportive one. As I see it, taking part in a competition is not to hurt your opponent, but to test your strength, in both physical and mental ways.
Taekwondo students can improve themselves physically, and mentally by training. The final goal is to achieve harmony with nature and oneself. Balance is gained by controlling both evil and good forces (Yin vs. Yang): A true Taekwondo student knows how to behave in all situations.
In my opinion, Taekwondo (and I guess this goes for every Martial Art) is not only a way to improve skills of self defence, but it's a way of life. Practicing Taekwondo gives the student more self-confidence, but this should not result in a false sense of superiority.
HwaRang code of honor
Because of the military background, there is a general code. These codes are reflected in the so-called 'Commandments of modern Taekwondo' and is strongly influenced by the Buddhism. These commandments are influenced by the HwaRang Do code of honor:
Serve your lord with loyalty
Serve your parents with filial piety
Trust your friends
Never retreat from a battle
When taking life, be selective
The commandments of Taekwondo are used as a guide for the moral development of students and art. No student who does not fully understand these tenets can ever hope to master the true essence of the art.
Commandments of modern Taekwondo:
Loyalty to your country
Respect your parents
Faithfulness to your spouse
Respect your brothers and sisters
Loyalty to your friends
Respect your elders
Respect your teacher
Never take life unjustly
Loyalty to your school
Finish what you begin
The Tenets of Taekwondo
Courtesy (Ye Ui). To be thoughtful and considerate of others. Taekwondo practisers (both students and instructors) should be polite, and show consideration for others.
Integrity (Yom Chi). Integrity describes how you should interact with others. To be honest and good, earn respect and trust.
Perseverance (In Nae). This basically stands for your internal drive. Challenges allow us to improve ourselves and should therefor not be avoided.
Self control (Guk Ki). To have control of your body and mind. A Taekwondo student should practice controlling his actions and reactions.
Indomitable spirit (Baekjool Boolgool). To have courage in the face of adversity. A Taekwondo student should never be dominated by, or have his spirit broken by another.
How to behave in the dojang
There are a few general rules.
Always wear a clean Dobok.
Clean hands, feet, short nails.
Don't wear sharp things (if you do not have a Dobok, do not wear pants with zippers etc.)
No jewelry allowed
Don't drink, smoke or eat in the dojang (no chewing gum!)
Be on time.
When entering and leaving the dojang, make a proper bow
Don't talk, unless it is necessary