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General guidelines to maintain a positive "black belt" attitude


  • Memorize the Songahm Spirit of Taekwondo and live by it.
  • Always pay attention to your instructor in class.
  • Address your instructors and all black belts as sir or ma'am. Answer all questions with YES Sir. or YES Ma'am with respect. 
  • Answer up- say "YES Sir/Ma'am" when asked to follow a directive by your instructor or whom ever is assigned as the leader of the group.
  • Trim all toenails and fingernails and have a clean body and uniform as a courtesy to other students.
  • Bring your required equipment to every class.
  • Put your name on all of your equipment and on your bag.
  • If possible, always let your instructor know ahead of time if you are unable to make a class.

Do Not's:

  • Do not run, play or talk loudly in the spectator or main practice areas.
  • Do not chew gum in class.
  • Do not wiggle, fidget, fall down, move around, or otherwise display undeisciplined, unthinking or inconsiderate body language in class. Once you have memorized the Songahm Spririt of Taekwondo, you know that in class you are "developing your personal discipline and a high level of personal spirit in order to bring out the best in yourself and others."
  • Do not spar without instructor supervision; do not spar without wearing all safety gear.
  • Do not plce your belt, that you have spent so much energy earning, on the floor or ground... your belt represents the respect that you've earned.

Class and Student Courtesy

In order to be comfortable and knowledgeable with the courtesies expected, all students should review the following list:
  1. Students and instructors will bow to the flags each time they enter and/or leave the classroom area, even if the area is not being used for workout. (The bow is the Oriental "handshake" used in showing respect and feeling of community toward the flags, fellow students and instructors). 
  2. If a student is unavoidably tardy for class, he should bow at the edge of the workout floor and wait to be recognized by the instructor; he/she may then ask permission to join the class. (Instructors may choose to assign warm-ups and/or other exercises as appropriate)
  3. Students should use the restroom before coming to class. If necessary, it is acceptable during class to ask permission to be excused.
  4. Students will respond "Yes/No, Sir" or "Yes/No, Ma'am", as appropriate, in all conversations with instructors; students will stand respectfully and bow whenever greeting an instructor, in or out of the classroom.
  5. Students will address instructors by their last name and proper title (Mr., Mrs., Miss, etc.), regardless of any personal or family relationship.
  6. Students are encouraged to participate in class enthusiastically; however, students should avoid unnecessary conversation and should speak only at the proper times.
  7. If a student does not understand a directive, he should raise his hand and ask that the instruction be repeated. A student is expected, however, to pay careful attention so the class may proceed without interruption.
  8. The Senior student among students of the same rank is the one who achieved the rank first. If the rank was earned at the same time, seniority may be determined by length of time in Taekwondo or by chronological age. An instructor may also prefer to "rotate" the senior position.
  9. No student, regardless of rank, may instruct or correct another student without the direct and specific permission of the instructor.
  10. A student's personal appearance in the class is a reflection of his pride. Cleanliness of person and uniform is imperative.
  11. Students in informal workout sessions may not engage in free-sparring without the direct supervision of an instructor.
  12. If a student is in the room when the "Songahm Spirit of Taekwondo" pledge is recited, he must stand at attentions and recite the pledge with the group, whether or not he is in uniform or a participant in the group session.
  13. There is to be no smoking or use of tobacco products in the school at any time; there will be no smoking, use of tobacco products or consumption of alcohol at any time while in uniform.
  14. There will be no use of profanity on the school premises or at any ATA function, class or activity.
  15. Permission of the student's instructor is required before any student may attend another ATA school or another martial arts school.
  16. High ranking visitors to the class should be greeted with appropriate respect; if class is in session, it should immediately be interrupted for this salutation.
  17. Students will turn away from the instructor or opponent when adjusting uniform or belt.
  18. Students will not wear shoes on the workout floor.
  19. Women must wear a white T-shirt under the uniform. If men choose wear a T-shirt under their uniform it must be white.
  20. No jewelry shall be worn with the uniform except a wedding ring.
  21. Students, parents and guests will not converse with any person involved in a class session without the permission of the instructor.
  22. No student may work on forms or techniques of any rank higher than his own.