There are many things expected of a Kuk Sool Won student, but the two main pillars of the Kuk Sool Won spirit are etiquette and respect. As such, the Association strives to educate all students about these concepts. All students are encouraged to learn and properly execute all forms of etiquette and respect to each other, in particular to senior students. It is through proper education and corrections that all students may fully appreciate the physical and mental training of Kuk Sool Won. It is the Association’s goal to bring the best possible learning atmosphere for all students; however, the Association reserves the right to terminate the membership of any student, if the student continues to lack (and the desire to attain) proper etiquette and respect. Depending on rank and position, each student has various privileges and responsibilities. All students are subject to these rules and regulations, which may change at any time.
As a student, one of the first things that you may notice is that all students and instructors have, and display, a great deal of respect for each other and their Head Instructor of the School. Kuk Sool Won is a traditional Martial Art. ‘Traditional‘ meaning that everything has a purpose – from utilizing the Korean language for some of our class instructions, to the wearing of uniforms, to the tying of our belts, and bowing as we enter and leave the do-jahng (practice hall).
Many people misunderstand this respect, and see it as a sign of supplication or superior being. Far from it! As the Martial Art of Kuk Sool Won comes from Korea, students will follow many Korean customs. Koreans choose to bow instead of shaking hands. In the School (Do-Jahng), we will demonstrate the same respect by using the Korean form of bowing. Bowing is a form of salute that merely designates, and demonstrates, respect. Bowing to Koreans is what the handshake is to Westerners.
Students address Instructors by their rank or by Sir or Ma’am. This does not mean they are superior, or a person with an exaggerated ego. It simply indicates that you recognize them as Martial Art seniors that have worked hard for their rank. Students often ask how they should address any Instructor that they may meet outside of the Do-Jahng. The answer is the same as it would be for any person for which you have respect. Just as your doctor retains his or her title of respect when you met him or her in the grocery store, so does your martial arts instructor.
The same kind of respect is shown to the national flags. In each School, it is a requirement that the UK national flag (or that of the country in which the school is situated), the national flag of Korea, and the flag of the Association are proudly displayed. Students will show respect to these flags to briefly remember that we are a part of the country we live in, a part of the Korean family, and a part of the Kuk Sool Won family. This respect is shown at the beginning and end of each and every class. The Instructor of each class will lead this respect.
As a new Student, you will hear the word etiquette repeatedly. You will learn that the proper etiquette accounts for a high percentage of your Martial Arts success. You will hear Instructors say that the first thing to be learned as a Student is etiquette. What is meant by this is the “proper code of behavior”? Simple items or gestures enhance not only your own practice, but also the practice of your fellow students. Here are few examples of proper code of behavior:
- Take your shoes off before walking onto the practice area.
- Keep your uniform freshly laundered and in good repair.
- Help keep the Do-Jahng tidy and take your belongings home with you.
- Arrive at least ten minutes before class with your uniform on.
- If you arrive late, ask permission to join an ongoing class.
- If you need to leave early, ask permission before leaving, and always show respect for the flags and your Instructor before you leave.
- If your uniform or belt needs adjusting during class, always turn away from the flags, your Instructor and your training partner, and fix it.
- If asked to sit during a class for any reason, sit properly with your feet crossed or underneath you.
- Concentrate at all times, and do not do anything to spoil other Students’ concentration.
- Keep a strong mind, strong heart.
- Always pose your questions to a Black Belt, never to another colour belt.
- Keep a positive attitude and… NEVER GIVE UP!