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The History of the Code of Honor

Hwa Rang and high moral conduct

The Hwa Rang or Hwarangdo warriors are credited with the creation of the tae kwon do Code of Honor.

The Hwarangdo warriors of the ancient Three Kingdoms Period were not only the noble elite of their time, but were also highly moral young men.

Trained in ethics, Confucian philosophy, Buddhist morality as well as swordsmanship, archery, military tactics and open hand fighting, the Hwa Rang sought the words that would embody their guiding principles.

In conjunction with a Buddhist monk, the Hwarangdo created the Five Codes of Human Conduct. This code formed the foundation of Korean society, taking the best from Confucian, Buddhist and Taoist teachings and applying them to daily life.

The five codes evolved over time until eventually the ‘ten commandments’ or Code of Honor were formed.

Code of Honor

Be loyal to your country.
Our country is part of our very soul and we must always strive to be loyal.

Be loving and show fidelity to your parents.
Honoring our parents is the best way to show our gratitude for all they have done for us.

Be loving between husband and wife.
A husband and wife are one entity and each should offer the other the very best of themselves.

Be cooperative between brothers and sisters.
A person who is considered a brother or sister deserves to be helped, encouraged and nurtured. You should treat them with kindness.

Be faithful to your friends.
A friend is like a brother or sister. We are at our best when we forget our own troubles to help a friend.

Be respectful to your elders.
There is no substitute for the wisdom of the old. They deserve our honor and respect.

Establish trust between teacher and student.
A teacher must give his best for his student. In return, students should give loyalty and respect to their teacher.

Use good judgment before killing any living thing.
Killing without just cause does honor to no one.

Never retreat in battle.
Inner strength is the key to bravery.

Always finish what you start.
It is easy to begin, but takes effort and perseverance to finish. A black belt is a white belt who never quit.

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