The martial art of TaeKwon-Do is based on the traditional concept that the art must be passed on from a teacher to his student. Since there was no other way to learn this art, the student / instructor relationship became an integral part of the teaching of TaeKwon-Do. Even in our society today, this special relationship is recognized for its tremendous worth, in shaping a student's framework and perspective, not only for the practice of this art but for a way of living his daily life. We are but the products and reflections of our many teachers. An old Korean proverb states:
"Father and mother are the parents who bring me up, while a teacher is the parent who educates me."
This is the reason why a student is expected to pay as much respect to his teachers as he would to his parents. The student must strive to set aside any preconceived notions he may have regarding his instructor and concentrate on learning all he can from his teacher. It is immaterial whether the student knows the instructor in a different social or business setting, once in the Do Jang, the instructor assumes the role as the student's senior. The student must therefore attempt to follow the instructor's orders without hesitation, and without trying to second-guess the instructor. Without the elements of trust and mutual respect there can be no true student / instructor relationship.
A dedicated and sincere instructor is an absolute necessity for any Do Jang. The school cannot grow and mature without a cadre of equally dedicated and sincere students. Good teachers produce good students and good students produce good teachers. Therefore, the ability to maintain the proper attitude toward the instructor and the art of TaeKwon-Do will often determine whether or not a student is able to realize his true potential.
Instructors and students should observe the following points alike:
- Never tire of teaching. A good instructor can teach anywhere, any time, and always be ready to answer questions.
- An instructor should be eager for his students to surpass him. It is the ultimate complement to an instructor. A student should never be held back. If the instructor realizes his student has developed beyond his teaching capabilities, the student should be sent to an instructor with the capabilities required.
- An instructor must always set a good example for his students and never attempt to defraud them.
- The development of the student should take precedence over commercialism. Once the instructor becomes concerned with materialism he will lose the respect of his students.
- Instructors should help the student develop good contacts outside of the Do Jang.
- Instructors should teach scientifically and theoretically to save time and energy.
- Students should be encouraged to visit other training halls and study other techniques. Students who are forbidden are likely to become rebellious. The student who visits other schools may benefit from observing a technique that is ideally suited to him or perhaps has a chance to learn by comparing his techniques to inferior ones.
- All students should be treated equally. There should be no favorites. Students should be scolded in private, never in front of the class. Discipline should be fair and swift. Praise and encouragement should be done in front of the class to help build the student's self-esteem and confidence.
- If an instructor is unable to answer a question, he should not attempt to make up an answer. He should make every attempt to find the answer as soon as possible and give the information to the student. An instructor does not lose face by admitting he does not know the answer, he will lose face by not being honest to the student.
- Never betray a trust.
- Never tire of learning. A good student can learn anywhere, anytime, anyplace. This is the secret of knowledge.
- A good student is willing to sacrifice for his art and his instructor. A poor student feels his training is a commodity bought by monthly or quarterly fees and are unwilling to take part in demonstrations, tournaments, teaching, and working to make the Do Jang successful. An instructor can afford to lose this type of student.
- Always set a good example for lower ranking students. They will be watching you and trying to emulate their seniors.
- Always be loyal to your instructor and to TaeKwon-Do. Never criticize your art, your instructor, or fellow students.
- If an instructor teaches a technique, practice it and attempt to utilize it.
- Remember the student's conduct outside the Do Jang reflects on the art and the instructor.
- If a student adopts another technique from a different Do Jang and the instructor disapproves of it, the student must discard it immediately or go train in the Do Jang where the technique was taught.
- Never be disrespectful to an instructor. The student is allowed to disagree with the instructor, the student must first follow the instructor's command and then discuss the matter in private with the instructor.
- A student must always be eager to learn and ask questions.
- Never betray a trust.