Tae Kwon Do is a philosophy, a way of life, and a living art. As a philosophy and a way of life, it is concerned with a better understanding of “self” through meditation, commitment, concentration, focus, achievement, and evaluation. This phenomenon of experiencing and understanding “self” is what is meant by the spirit of Tae Kwon Do. As a living art it is ultimate in “self-defense” and “physical fitness” for men, women, and children.
The central purpose of Tae Kwon Do is the development of human beings with sound minds and bodies who find or create peace and harmony in their lives and the world around them. The Tae Kwon Do tradition is imparting a way of life to those who study it. It teaches self-confidence through discipline and patience. In life, it is important to fully appreciate the value of self-confidence to successfully attain one’s goal. It is the single most important aspect of a Martial Artist’s development and it cannot be given to the student, but must be generated and enhanced from within. By teaching the mind discipline, Tae Kwon Do opens paths that were once blocked by uncertainty and fear. Self-discipline builds character and character leads to good self-esteem. When one feels good and confident about himself, he is able to invest himself in helping others. By doing so, he adds to the betterment and goodwill of the world in which we live.
Patience is a virtue that should be used to understand one’s circumstances. It promotes clear thinking in the event of adversity. Patience not only insulates the Martial Artist from discouragement; it also helps him to maintain constant control of his emotions.
The real value in Tae Kwon Do lies in what it can teach us about ourselves; that we can be more than what we are now; that we have no need of fear; and that our capacities for energy, awareness, compassion, and excellent health are far greater than what we know.
Tae Kwon Do is not just kicking and punching. It is more than that. It is an ongoing test of physical and mental fitness, of stamina, perseverance, courage and creativity. It combines the best of mind and body discipline into an art form which can become a way of life. When correctly learned and used, it is the perfect physical fitness activity since it utilizes every muscle in the body while naturally regulating a person’s weight. As a psychological stimulator, it develops flexibility, strength, muscle tone, speed, reflexes, and mental acuity.
Taken from the 1997 Lee’s Tae Kwon Do Twin Cities Challenge Program