A high degree of etiquette should be observed by students, both inside and outside dojang. This
should be applied by lower ranking students to senior students while training, by higher ranking
students to elder students outside of the dojang, and by all students when visiting another
dojang. In all cases, emphasis should be placed on correct and proper salutation. It is a form of
respect and courtesy in Western as well as Oriental societies. It is indeed poor taste for a black
belt to slight a beginning white belt who might very well be the instructor's senior in both age and
station. Students visiting other dojangs, whether they be Taekwon-Do or other martial arts, must
pay proper respect and observe the traits of modesty and courtesy at all times.
We have searched for a suitable guide to etiquette and have found the following from various
Etiquette is the most important, valuable and fundamental aspect in one's life. Etiquette is that
hidden element which comes spontaneously from within a person's heart and is expressed in
actions, behavior and/or speech. It is associated with personality and character building.
Etiquette is not something, which is forced upon someone to abide by rules and regulations, but
it is that element which flows naturally and automatically to make a person more readily accepted
in our society. Etiquette enriches one's quality of life and thus gives a person peace and
tranquility not only to oneself but also to society at large.
Basics in the Dojang:
1. When students bow they must first stand to attention (feet form a 45 degree angle). Fists
are lightly clenched, bending the elbows slightly. Bend the body forward 15 degrees.
2. In the dojang, while sitting in the company of senior members (senior means higher
ranking TKD students or an elderly person) one must maintain proper posture. In case of
any senior member entering the room one must stand immediately and bow. You take your
seat only after the senior member has sat down.
3. When entering a dojang, bow first to the Instructor, then the assistant instructors and
the flag. Even when visiting other Martial Arts dojangs, students must show proper respect
and observe the traits of modesty and courtesy at all times.
4. In the dojang, you should refrain from making excessive noise and attempt to build a
serious training environment.
Dinner Table Etiquette
1. Maintain proper seated position while eating.
2. Wait for the senior member or any elderly person to start first.
3. Do not stand or leave the table while eating without seeking permission to be excused.
4. If you are the host, do not eat fast and finish before your guest who may still be eating.
5. Do not take uninvited guests to a party.
Seating Arrangements during Social or Official Functions
The middle is for the senior. The right side must be the second and left is the third. The fourth
place is again at the right, etc.
At home or in public, always try to use proper language in your conversation and maintain proper
language, (e.g. not slang). On all occasions, in whatever relationships you have (e.g.
teacher-student) always maintain and display good etiquette.
1. Ensure that you use the correct and appropriate language.
2. When speaking to others, do not talk in an abrupt, violent or aggressive manner. Speak
3. Always remember to address a person with a proper title.
4. Always be a good listener. Do not cut in on someone else's conversation. When giving
an opinion, think very carefully beforehand.
5. Do not point fingers at someone while talking and do not touch another person
unnecessarily during the conversation.
1. Ensure that you use the correct and appropriate language.
2. Do not send unwanted jokes or email to your seniors.
3. Do not provide your seniors or other Taekwon-Do students email addresses to others
without their permission.
1. If you are introduced by a friend to a senior black belt or instructor, let your friend
complete the introduction first before you speak.
2. When shaking hands, junior students must wait until the senior extends his hand first. A
junior must never be the first to extend the hand to the senior.
3. When shaking hands, do not hold too tight (or loose).
1. Do not conduct surprise visits. Give plenty of notice before your intended visit.
2. Avoid visiting early mornings or late nights, unless previously arranged.
3. If when visiting, your host gives you indirect hints to leave (e.g. looking at his watch etc)
be considerate and leave.
4. When visitors leave, see them from the premises by accompanying them to the gate or
car. Await their departure before returning inside.
1. Warm-up about 25 minutes before chief examiner arrives. Someone will conduct the
2. Members should be instructed on where to be seated and advised as to proper conduct.
3. When to go to the restroom.
4. Chief examiner arrives (nominate someone to watch for his arrival).
5. Instructors must be dressed in the official dress uniform (unless required in dobok for
6.The Instructors wait outside for the examiner. They walk in with the Examiner in
accordance to their seniority with the Examiner at the front of the line.
7.The Instructors line up at the front, facing forward to the students testing.
8. All face the flag and bow (the senior student gives the commands).
9. Student oath
10. Bow to the chief examiner, bow to the instructors.
11. The host Instructor introduces the examiner and instructors and advises people of the event.
12. Those testing move back and are seated while the examiner is introduced to the instructors
and guests if any. Black belt students are to be seated at the side of the venue.
13. Testing begins.
14. Instructors need to be seated where practical near the examiner for consultation. Instructor's
only are permitted to be seated at the examiner's table. If your student is being examined, then sit
next to the examiner so comments can be passed.
15. All Black Belts of the school testing are to be present at the grading in the correct dress
unless excused by the chief examiner.
16. Black belts are to be seated in a suitable manner on the seating provided, share the task of
ushering the students, remain alert and maintain the correct standards/discipline among the
17. Finish with a speech from examiner & presentations, notices from visiting Instructors.
16. Final procedure: The senior gives the commands as per the procedure for the end of class.
After the testing
1. After testing: Announcement, time, date, venue, who attends, food, transport, reservations.
2. Always have one or two adults handy to assist the chief examiner.
3. Testing events should be celebrated with a dinner or some type of event.
"Ye" (etiquette) is an essential spirit in Taekwon-Do training. Taekwon-
Do practice must begin and end with etiquette. Ye is abbreviation of
Kyongnye. Ye denotes the way that all human beings must follow. It is
the fundamental base on which human spirit stands. That is respect for
humanity. Etiquette is an expression, through actions, of one's mind
respecting the other party's personality, constituting a lofty and
valuable basic attitude in a man. A code of etiquette is aimed at
encouraging Taekwondoist to behave themselves like a person of
etiquette, always trying hard to cultivate a righteous and decent
character in them so that everyone throughout the world may follow
their examples. Children especially need far more discipline and order.
The child’s overflowing enthusiasm can be tempered only through
reinforced moral education, which starts by the training of etiquette.
Etiquette should be based on an upright mind and modest attitude. One
should get rid of mean attitudes, showing only modest attitudes, which
is an important part of etiquette.
Decent and accurate speech, graceful conduct, upright and moderate
attitudes are all the essentials of etiquette deserving a healthy modern
life. Etiquette is also the source of maintaining harmony and solidarity
for community life.
"When in doubt, bow!"
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In Korea, manners (yejol) is an abbreviation of etiquette and courtesy.
Yei refers to social rules or relationships that are demonstrated
through personal and social language and behavior; the way of
speech, attitude, and/or behavior toward others.
Bumjol describes day-to-day order and procedure surrounding one's
life. Plainly, bumjol is a formal way of talking; a formal mental state or
attitude; and a prescribed series of formal behaviors.
Therefore, manners, according to Korean culture, is a formerly
expressed action to display your respect toward others.
To simply acknowledge manners is insufficient; manners should be
conducted with brevity and sincerity. Attention to and practicing of
manners should spring voluntarily - practiced naturally rather than
forced upon a person through compulsory rules or binding force.
Manners that pay respect to morals and ethics, and that acknowledge
the binding human conscience, are primary.
As a result of its oriental and military background a certain etiquette has developed
in Taekwon-Do, such as bowing and the way we shake hands with a senior. This
allows us to distinguish senior from junior grade and to enable us to show respect to
our seniors. It is important that we visibly show our respect and are willing to
humble ourselves. This is what makes I.T.F. Taekwon-Do a martial art and it
distinguishes us from a group of thugs only interested in fighting. Some new
members find this difficult to understand and may feel that it is just a power trip for
the instructor. It is in fact the opposite, it is there to remind us to be humble and to
stop us developing an ego or turning into a show off. Remember we are all students
of Taekwon-Do and these forms of etiquette apply to us all, black belts included.
Instructors show this etiquette to their seniors. These are a few of the major forms
of etiquette which as students of Taekwon-Do we will encounter.
Bow: We always bow to our partner before and after we practice together. We
bow to the instructor at the beginning and end of the class. We should wait until the
instructor raises their head before we raise ours. We should always bow when they
approach or leave a senior. When leaving a senior grade we should bow, take three
steps back and then turn. We bow when entering and leaving the Do jang.
Name: Never call a senior by their first name. Always Master, Mr., Miss or Ma’am.
This applies both inside and outside of Taekwon-Do. If we meet our instructor in
the street we still must call them by their second name otherwise they are just
empty words in the Do jang.
Hands on hips: We never stand with our hands on our hips when in the presence of a
Handshake: When shaking hands with a senior we should place the back of the left
hand under the right elbow. Always wait until a senior offers to shake our hand.
Seat: We should always offer our seat to a senior if they are without one. Never sit
down before your seniors are seated.
Stand up: We should always stand up when a senior enters the room or
Receiving two hands: Always give and receive from a senior with two hands.