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Code of conduct


For centuries, codes of conduct have been used to guide the moral conduct of all types of human endeavors, including combat. A code of conduct is required, for without one, all control and order is lost and we are noting but wild animals. For an example of what occurs when there is not an enforced code of conduct, look at the behavior of professional sports players. For an example of what occurs when there is an enforced code of conduct, look at the behavior of the military, especially when they are at war. Other professions, such as doctors and lawyers, have enforced codes of conduct where misconduct can be cause for loss of their license to practice.

Since they deal with combat and life or death decision, most martial arts have a code of conduct. I was an instructor at a school affliated with the Taekwondo America national organization which had a code of conduct. At a joint sparring session with other Taekwondo America schools, one of our black belts lost control of his temper while sparring and would stop attacking his opponent even after commanded to by numerous school owners and masters, and had to be pulled off the opponent and restrained. This was a major breach of the organization's code of conduct so action was taken. His children were allowed to continue training in the organization but he was banned from the organization and all its schools and was not allowed to attend any of their events.

Cowboy code

In the 1930's, Gene Autry, who was a cowboy movie star and a hero to many children of the time, had a fan club that had a cowboy code of conduct. The following is an adaptation of the 1939 Cowboy Code:
  • Never take unfair advantage of someone.
  • Never go back on your word or reveal a trust confided in you.
  • Always tell the truth.
  • Be gentle with children, elderly, and animals.
  • Do not advocate or believe in racially or religiously intolerant ideas.
  • Help people in distress.
  • Be a good worker.
  • Be clean in thought, speech, action, and personal habits.
  • Respect the opposite sex, parents, and our nation's laws.
  • Be a patriot.

Hwarang-do code of honor

Since its ancient roots, taekwondo has had a code of conduct to guide the moral conduct of its practitioners. To hope to master the true essence of taekwondo, a student must understand its code of conduct. The taekwondo code of conduct is strongly influenced by Buddhism and the hwarang-do code of honor. The history of the hwarang-do is explained in detail in the history of taekwondo topic.

Code of honor

  • Serve your lord with loyalty.
  • Serve your parents with filial piety.
  • Trust your friends.
  • Never retreat a battle.
  • When taking life, be selective.

Sample martial arts code of conduct

Many times, each martial arts organization, or even each school, has its own code of conduct to guide its students. The following describes a typical martial arts code of conduct.

Code of conduct

  • Be loyal to your country.
  • Respect your parents.
  • Be faithfulness to your spouse.
  • Respect your brothers and sisters.
  • Be loyal to your friends.
  • Respect your elders.
  • Respect your teacher.
  • Be honest and always stand for justice.
  • Be courteous.
  • Never take life unjustly.
  • Be loyal to your school.
  • Finish what you begin.
  • Never misuse your martial arts skills.

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