What is the significance of bowing in Taekwondo? Why is it necessary and how often should one bow and to whom? Before we can answer these questions, we must go back and understand the meaning of Tae Kwon Do and the part it plays in one's journey as a Martial Artist.
As Taekwondo is a part of life, so is courtesy and the bow. It is a commitment instilled through the discipline of martial arts and its tenets, which is also demonstrated in other ways.
- Being respectful to the Art of Taekwondo – a student must follow the rules and etiquette of Taekwondo and the martial arts. A student should not be disrespectful to their own Art or to other martial arts.
- Having good manners – a student should be polite and respectful both inside and outside of the dojang. For example, a student should not push another student out of the way to get in front of the line, or swear, be rude or be disrespectful.
- Being responsible – a student should not cause trouble or harm, harass or bully anyone, especially to other students. Hands and feet should be kept to oneself. Students must respect the privacy and space of others and commit to keeping each other safe.
- Being equal and fair – a student must never discriminate against anyone regardless of their ethnic background, gender, age, or lifestyle preferences. Although we line up in order of belt rank, it is only a statement of how a student has progressed in their Taekwondo belt level. After class, students must continue to show courtesy to one another.
- Being helpful – a student should help as much as possible. Students can help others by tying belts, opening the door, helping each other with sparring equipment, clean up after themselves before leaving the studio.
The bow is shown not only in the dojang, but everywhere. Because it is used as a sign of courtesy, students automatically bow especially when they see each other and their Masters and/or Instructors in public. It's a culture they have adapted into their everyday life. Without courtesy, an individual will not know the meaning of respect. The bow is the first thing a Taekwondo student learns. It shows courtesy and emanates respect, integrity, self-control, and builds family by showing respect to one another and making each other whole.