Tae kwon do

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Tae kwon do

"Momma always said don't take the easy way outta' life.  The more you give the more you get." This common theme seems to ring true throughout the entire world.  Ironically, Americans can be better described as trying to get by in life with doing the least amount of work, while still receiving as much as they possibly can.  In other words, taking the easy way out.  While the typical stereotype of Asians, more specifically Koreans, is a hardworking class of people who's ultimate goal in life is inner peace.  One definite example of this is shown through the practice of TaeKwon-Do in both cultures.  TaeKwon-Do is taken to more of an intense level in Korea compared to the United States.  Koreans have developed it as a martial art form and a way of life, while Americans in general have taken bits and pieces of it to suit their life style.
   TaeKwon-Do originated in Korea about 20 centuries ago.  As a free-fighting combat sport using bare hands and feet to repel an opponent, TaeKwon-Do is used solely as a defensive mechanism.  People trained in TaeKwon-Do can overcome an opponent using their hands, fists, elbows, knees, feet or any other part of their body.  It also is used to improve one's health, physical fitness, poise, and self-confidence.  The literal translation of TaeKwon-Do is "Tae- jumping or flying, to kick or smash with the foot, Kwon- to punch or destroy with the fist, Do- the art or way of."  (http://www.itatkd.com/whatiskd.html)  
   The philosophy of TaeKwon-Do is to create a more peaceful world, and to do this its foundation begins with the individual person.  Trying to develop positive aspects of personality like respect, courtesy, goodness, trustworthiness, loyalty, humility, courage, patience, integrity, perseverance, self-control, an indomitable spirit and a sense of responsibility to help and respect all forms of life is what TaeKwon-Do individuals strive for.    Students studying TaeKwon-Do memorize and recite the student oath and the tenets of TaeKwon-Do everyday.  The Student Oath is "I shall observe the tenets of TaeKwon-Do.  I shall respect all instructors and seniors.  I shall never misuse TaeKwon-Do.  I shall be a champion of freedom and justice.  I shall strive to build a more peaceful world."  The five tenets of TaeKwon-Do are courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and an indomitable spirit. (http://www.itatkd.com/tkdphil.html).  All these values are still held true and practiced daily in Korea.
   Americans have torn apart the art of TaeKwon-Do in numerous ways.  They have taken the easy way out, and instead of learning the entire art form of TaeKwon-Do they have taken small pieces of it, therefore losing the overall purpose of it.  Military and Law Enforcement training seminars are offered from numerous TaeKwon-Do Associations throughout the entire United States.  They mainly teach them self-defense and law enforcement techniques.  Completely forgetting about the ultimate goal of creating a peaceful world.
   Koreans on the other hand have seminars on weapons, swordmanships, and other topics more related to the original purpose of the martial art.  At these seminars, they focus mainly on the basics and etiquette, blocks and strikes, and defense against unarmed and weapon attacks.  Other take-offs of TaeKwon-Do are aerobic exercise videos.  A popular video series is called "Tae-Bo."  It uses kicks and punches to achieve a high quality physical fitness.  There are also countless cable TV programs that are similar to Tae-Bo, like "The Friday Club" and "TaeKwon-Do American Style."
   Overall, Americans claim that they know and practice TaeKwon-Do when really all that they are doing is a small portion of the real thing.  Koreans tend to take on the practice of it more seriously; some even dedicate their lives to becoming a black belt at the sport.  Maybe Americans need to try and give a little more to TaeKwon-Do and other things in their lives to receive more out of their life.  After all, momma always knows best.