Like all martial arts, Tang Soo Do training is based on certain principles that guide each student through their training. In the Moo Duk Kwan school there are three principles. Responsibility, Sincerity, and Justice. These principles are aimed at strengthening the character of every martial artist.


 Along with learning any martial art, there is a responsibility every martial artist must take on. Due to the every nature of a martial art (literary an "art of war"), one that possesses martial skills must realize the power at his disposal and their capabilities. To take another's personal safety away from them requires a serious commitment on their part. This power is not as random or materialistic as a weapon such as gun or a knife. These things can break or can be taken away. The abilities a skilled martial artist carries can never be taken from them.

Due to their inner power, every martial artist must take on the responsibility of protecting those around them. This includes protecting themselves, their family, and friends. This responsibility does not necessarily stop at people. Responsibility must also be taken on one's actions, whether it is completing a project at work or a group homework assignment at school. A martial artist's standing in their social environment is part of their obligation to that environment. One's actions reflect on a person's character. As a martial artist, it is of the utmost importance to uphold their obligations in order to maintain a proper perspective on their own moral character and to better fulfill their roles as martial artists.


Sincerity is necessary in order to properly expand one's relationships with others. Sincerity reflects each person's moral character. Without sincerity, every relationship that a martial artist (or anyone else for that matter) is based off of poor perceptions on each other's character. This will mark one's relationships and will prevent them from growing properly. It is important for martial artists to be sincere because their relationships with those around them are of the utmost important to them. It is a martial artist's responsibility to protect and serve those around them in any capacity that they can. However, this obligation to those people will be false unless sincerity is displayed with them at all times. Showing sincerity displays each person's true moral character and allows for properly developed relationships to form.


When faced with the abilities that the martial artists develop the question on when it is proper or improper to use those abilities can raise. Criteria for these questions for these situations differ from situation to situation. It is up to the individual to determine if the outcome of their actions is justified by their motivations. The conflict that remains is whether or not these motivations are legitimate.

It has already been stated before that it is a martial artist's responsibility to use their skills to protect their family and friends. However, the question arises where protecting these people necessarily negates a physical confrontation. Depending on the skill level of the individual, this may differ. Someone who may not be as skilled may need to physically injure someone attempting to hurt them because they may not have the ability to prevent it without causing harm (although it may not necessarily be his or her intended to do so). This action, seemingly would be justified due to the ability (or lack thereof) of that person. However, if a martial artist does have the ability to protect himself or herself from an attack without injuring their assailants nut chooses to injure them, this action would seemingly be unjust. The use of force, for his individual, was not necessitated by their assailant's attack.

In these situations, however, there is a definite threat to a person. There is an n obvious reason to react physically that threatens us physically. However, the question of justice is also raised in cases where there may not be a definite threat. For instance, if a situation arises where someone approaches you in a threatening manner. Would it be just to respond to this person in a violent manner when it is possible to solve this problem without violence? It must also be considered whether not fighting would only cause this person to continue to harass you or would standing up to this person (preferably without a physical conflict) be more beneficial.

The question of justice for a martial artist is not merely a question of whether or not to fight. It is more of a question of when is it necessary or unnecessary to act or not to act in given circumstances. The question of whether an action (or inaction) is just or not is closely tied to how a martial artist in light of their special abilities will solve their problems. This question may differ from person to person and situation to situation, but must be addressed by every student when studying martial arts.

In studying any martial arts, not only Tang Soo Do, one of the most important considerations a student must make is what is my role as a martial artist in light of my new abilities and under what circumstances and situations is it right to use their abilities. The principles of responsibilities, sincerity, and justice are geared to give a student the best means of solving problems that may arise without the use of force.

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Philippine Moo Duk Kwan Soo Bahk Do, Inc.
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World Moo Duk Kwan, Inc.
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