Shin Ho Kwan’s Doctrine of Behavior

 Manners & Obligation

Several posts ago I talked about manners (etiquette) and how important they are within Shin Ho Kwan.  I would have to say they are one of the most important, if not the most important, mental aspect of Shin Ho Kwan (see post on manners).  This post is going to continue where that post left off.  Recently, Master Shaffer touched on one of SHK’s “Ten Guidelines of Mental Development.”  “Dispelling all negative thoughts and preventing future ones by self-reprimand,” is one of the more difficult guidelines to follow because only the practitioner knows if they are truly following it.  This way of taking responsibility for ones thoughts should carry over into ones physical actions as well, within Shin Ho Kwan practice as well as everyday life.  I constantly see color belts forget to do something, like bowing onto the training floor, that they should have done and immediately look around to see if any of the black belts saw them forget.  If no one saw them, they get a “phew” look on their face and continue as if they did nothing wrong.  Ideally, a student should realize that they didn’t do something, that they were supposed to do, and reprimand themselves through either mental or physical self-reprimand.  This practice is part of Shin Ho Kwan’s Doctrine of Behavior.

The purpose of this doctrine is to help students recognize and take responsibility for their own behavior and development both as martial artists and human beings. Essentially, the Shin Ho Kwan Doctrine of Behavior operates under the principle that when an individual enforces his own obligations; in other words, self-reprimands in the case of a breech of conduct, the lesson is more deeply learned than when obligation is applied by an instructor or other authority.  In the case of a violation of the Shin Ho Kwan code of conduct, general martial arts (or common) etiquette (manners), or otherwise pre-determined rules of behavior both inside or outside the Dojang, the offender should impose a reprimand upon himself within the Shin Ho Kwan guidelines until he feels that he has met the obligation.  Only a senior can tell an individual that he has such obligation but ideally the individual should begin to realize this on his own.  In the case that the individual who committed an offense goes beyond what can said to be requisite (or nears a physically or mentally dangerous level of reprimand) a senior can and should intervene and release the individual of his obligation.  The opposite is also true – the senior may insist that the obligation was not adequately met and require the offender to repeat or revise the reprimand.

A good way of understanding this is to imagine that you have two large cups.   One cup is your “manners” cup and the other cup is your “obligation” cup.  Your “manners” cup is completely full when you start Taekwondo and in the case of a perfect martial artist, it will remain that way.  However, none of us are perfect so, whenever you do something that isn’t correct manners (etiquette) some of the liquid in your “manners” cup is transferred to your “obligation” cup.   That liquid must be moved back to the “manners” cup as soon as possible and this is achieved through reprimand (think of it as a liquid pump).  The more and/or greater the reprimand, the more liquid is moved.  Once the “obligation” cup is empty, the reprimand can stop.  As I stated above, normally the student that has the obligation determines this but if a senior feels that the obligation has not been met, the reprimand can be lengthened or increased.

Through a commitment to Shin Ho Kwan’s Doctrine of Behavior, both students and instructors can better themselves not only as martial artists but as a global citizen.

Something to think about…

by Master Sean Pearson

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Written by Sean Pearson

Throughout his career, in an effort to become a truly well-rounded martial artist in both practice and philosophy, Master Pearson has studied a wide variety of martial arts: Taekwondo, Kali, Kyudo, Iaido, Aikido, Judo, Jodo, Bando and Tai Chi. He holds dan rankings in six of these arts and master ranks in three of them. To this same end he has studied and achieved national recognition as a wilderness survival instructor, a certified hypnotherapist, and a lecturer in Neuro Linguistic Psychology.

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