Those testing for 4th and 5th dan in February 2007 were asked to write on the subject of loyalty. These are their essays.
MEANING: FEELING OF DUTY: a feeling of devotion, duty or attachment to somebody or something.
Loyalty, the changing face of how we see and think about it. Not so long ago our parents or grandparents would have started work with a company and stayed with them for many years. Today the average time spent with a company before seeking change is two years.
Marriage was something to honour and stay with your partner for life, today we can move from relationship to the next with ease.
They had a stronger sense of King and country
Our society is changing and there is an effect on our martial arts as we all have far more options for sport and recreation, fitness, social clubs and the affects of a more busy and stressful environment. The day to day demands on our time means that we more prone to chop and change our leisure time to meet the requirements of work, school and home.
The time frame required to achieve first Dan Black belt is such that these daily demands impact on the number of students we are turning over on a yearly basis, this could be viewed as a lack of loyalty but is loyalty lacking or is society dictating our way of life.
When beginning with a new club you should be made to feel welcome, made to be apart of the club and as an Instructor we must gain the students trust in what we are teaching. Trust plays a huge roll in getting loyalty from people and with out trust it is natural for people to start to look towards other clubs where they feel more secure. As students we are all drawn to natural leaders and as such Instructors must lead by example, we must gain and keep students trust and in turn gain loyalty.
As an organisation we should be active in promoting loyalty, students should not be allowed to chop and change from club to club with out just course. This is worse for the cities that have many clubs close making it easier for a student to change and in some cases changing several times in a two or three year period.
Is it not enough that a student can freely train with another club and should be welcomed to attend but not encouraged to change clubs. New clubs opening in an area can draw existing members from clubs which does the new club no favours and can be damaging to a region.
I think the worst thing we can do as Instructors is actively head hunt students from other clubs even if this is done as a soft sell approach, this will promote Ill feeling for both student and Instructors.
We should all follow courtesy when dealing with a student who wishes to change from one club to another, find out why someone wishes to join your club, offer advise, ring the Instructor where the student trains and ask if this was known, any problems with the student and if they can transfer.
This can give you a good insight into this student and they may in fact not be worthy of joining your own club.
So, right or wrong there may be times when students can and should change to another club but there are many times that the student should not be allowed to change and this should be totally discouraged.
While we look forward to the growth of ITFNZ we need to ensure that we do not loose sight of our basic principles such as courtesy, integrity and LOYALTY.
Palmerston North Taekwon-Do Academy
24 January 2007
Loyalty to put it simply is the quality of being TRUE and FAITHFUL to an entity.
In most cases people usually speak of loyalty when they are refer to being loyal to a country or a leader.
At other times people have also referred to loyalty being applied to an object, an ideal/philosophy, or another living being not necessarily having a social status.
General Choi Hong Hi puts a lot of importance in Loyalty during his life, especially being somebody in his station, that is: leader of soldiers in the Army, and a figurehead in ITF Taekwon-Do. Soldiers who are not loyal to their country and commander will not be the best to defend the country, and will surely bring down their own side, should they wish to betray, defect, or simply desert their command.
In his biography he described many times when he came across situations where he was disappointed when loyalty was not evident. From the dealings during his time in Korea, to the later times of his life, where students and trusted members of his circle had betrayed him and his Taekwon-Do ideal.
In the east, loyalty is closely associated with honour and being honourable. Those who were not loyal were usually seen as being a traitor and deceiver, and thus were not honourable.
General Choi gave an example of historical evidence when loyalty is considered the primary quality of honour and patriotism when he quotes Won Kang, the Buddhist monk who set out the Hwarang's 5 point code of conduct; the first and foremost being: "be loyal to your king".
He also named a pattern after Po-Eun, the diagram being a horizontal line (-) to symbolise Po Eun's un-erring loyalty to his king.
While he didn't actually state Loyalty as a tenet of TKD, his teaching of loyalty nevertheless permeates the whole fabric of Taekwon-Do philosophy.
To achieve the goal of Taekwon-Do as stated in the Oath, a student will have to practice true loyalty in every aspect of their lives.
Gen Choi recognises with the progress of time, intermixing of cultures, modernisation, and the shift in consciousness into materialism, and self centredness of society, many good and honourable qualities are lost and are not demonstrated anymore.
Certainly many religions also warns the danger of the decay of modern society where all qualities of trust, faith, honesty, caring and sharing, and love will be taken over by egoism, selfishness, materialistic and money oriented societys, leading to higher crime rates, suffering, and ultimately chaos.
By promoting the quality of Loyalty amongst other things, we as Taekwon-Do exponents and teachers, can do our own small contribution to turn the tide of materialism and other negative aspects of human nature and human society.
In order to develop our own sense of loyalty we need to understand that true loyalty is earnt and not forced upon anybody, and that loyalty is a two way process.
For example a relationship requiring loyalty will not last if only one party is loyal to the other. If one person party mistreats the other, very soon they will lose the respect, love, affection, faith that made the other person give their loyalty in the first place.
There are also occasions where one party will practice "blind loyalty". Due to some sort of conditioning or upbringing, a person may decide to remain loyal to somebody else no matter what.
This is a totally negative relationship, as it will cause suffering, resentment and does not help the person giving the loyalty to progress at all. In fact, if the truth be known, neither party benefits at all in the bigger scheme of things.
Examples of negative Loyalty are as follows: when loyalty is demanded off somebody using means such as fear, brainwashing, promises of large rewards. This relationship will not last, as invariably sooner or later, one party will cease to exist, or simply walk away from the arrangement.
True loyalty can be fostered by the following: promotion of love, caring and affection, a positive and supportive environment, logical and and clear philosophical ideas, transparency (there are no hidden secrets), mutuality, understanding, acceptance and forgiveness, the promotion of truth, trust and faith.
A Taekwon-Do exponent will be wise to meditate upon the qualities of Loyalty in order to develop true loyalty in their lives, and to promote the quality of loyalty in todays society, starting with their peers and the society that they are involved in.
General Choi teaches us to practice this in our everyday life. Starting within our own dojangs.
He outlined the code for Student and Instructor relationship. Stating each and every action the student and instructor should do to gain and promote loyalty, such as : never betray a trust, treat people equally and with courtesy.
Thus if these are practiced and becomes second nature, not only will it be the launching pad of success for both the instructor and the student, it will grow to help their friends and families to also become successful in life.
I was asked recently, "Tell me you're in your words, your thoughts on loyalty"
So straight off I referred to the Dictionary for a definition, I found the words I most identified with are allegiance and faithfulness. However Defining loyalty from a dictionary or a reading in an encyclopaedia can only give the reader the concept, or an understanding.
In terms the Martial Art "Taekwon-Do"
I see loyalty as: "An action or application in the way one acts
In allegiance formed from intent and belief in what an individual is devoted to or doing, that completes ones self and purpose."
Belief is an important component.
For me loyalty is holistic, its is a trait that is developed through life experience and influenced by environment. Loyalty touches every aspect of my life, Family career social interaction and of course all influenced by Taekwon do, all are intertwined and cannot be separated. Much like General Choi's example of the composition of Taekwon do. Each element influences the other.
Life experience. "Loyalty is time spent, and then knowing." Through the early stages of my journey in Taekwon-do loyalty was one-off self focus on the physical application and technique and the individual pursuit to develop myself.
A few years on, having to analyse my thoughts on loyalty. I find myself thinking about the people in Taekwon do that have influenced me, and the most prominent individuals That continue to influence me and instil the ideals devotion and steadfastness that stabilizes all that I do in Taekwon-do, and the way I act and apply life.
Inspirational / Role-model / Devoted / Influential..
First and foremost General Choi, The Man who was a creator leader. His Martial Art, an entire life devoted to Taekwon-do, there is something special about a person who is able to influence change and way of thinking to improve Thousands of people's lives for the good, no matter cultural religious or Race. Or where in the world.
Master Davidson, in recent years has been, and still is the most influence example for me.. His approach to life, his teaching inside and outside the Do-jang. I see him as a person who has grasped the meaning of "Whole life is Taekwon-do"
(Something I hope to achieve) He is a person who teachers by example in the way "Do" without you even knowing its happening.
Master McPhail. His devotion to Taekwon - do and how his example of leadership has influenced and shaped Taekwon-do in New Zealand. His technical ability and in-depth knowledge has always inspired me and all who come to know him in the world of Taekwon-do.
Master Willie Lim, My first Instructor who imprinted Taekwon-do into my being in the early influence years.
There are many examples of The reliability, dependability and allegiance displayed by Successful individuals from all walks of life whether it be Sport ,work ,Religion, Martial arts it is a common trait that makes up the variety we and experience we have as a society of Human being. "Success is a product of loyalty."
In terms of Teakwon –Do "loyalty". Is a trait that is displayed by all serious practitioners of General Choi's art. In which he himself emphasized the importance of practicing the mental application and studying the "Do". In Taekwon-do.
"Loyalty is a Choice"
Someone once told me, "Surround yourself with people you want to be like. Then you will be like them."
Loyalty will be the one of the products from constant attention belief commitment and understanding of purpose in which you take part in. It is a natural occurrence and happens as a matter of course from an involuntary and voluntary participation.
In terms of Taekwon-do "Involuntary, thought processes," Influencing my decision – making, behaviour and choices that are influenced through the constant examples I have experienced through training.
Outside influences that have facilitated my learning shape and changed Direction in my Taekwon-Do life. Is the Organised and structured approach to facilitate the learning that produces students of high moral character. ITFNZ provides such a platform for this, it deserves and receives loyalty from its members I see this as a "voluntary" approach and the strength of the organisation and allegiance to its leaders. This in its-self is the recipe that loyalty is born. So the Art of Taekwon-do all the elements will continue to grow and develop in which I believe the creator General Choi Hong Hi wished it to be.
Life is challenging and is constantly changing. Loyalties are challenged and prioritised on the way. We all have work and families and commitments and other obligations that influence our ties and loyalties at times.
I compartmentise the different aspects and loyalties in life. This process allows Balance. The major priority for me is family, where my loyalty is not in question. Social obligations Personal goals and work all have their place and need constant juggling to have success in all that I strive for.
For me the one thing that is constant and underpins all of my loyalties is Taekwon-do.
Belief in the Art, the way "Do" and most importantly yourself is loyalty , Having the opportunity to teach in the way I have experienced, I would hope I have the same positive effect on my students that I have experienced and continue to experience
And so General Choi's vision and legacy is past on through the generations to come.
Ian Campbell IV
Loyalty today has like many important aspects of our life been diluted by a continuing apathetic or disinterested society. Loyalty in the twenty first century has been distilled down to having a nice shiny plastic card that can be handed over to a cashier upon the conclusion of your purchase at a participating outlet.
A loyalty reward system so the advertising leads us to believe, should make us feel good about brand and customer loyalty. In return we can achieve numerous benefits such as, air points, cheap fuel and fly buy points which all can be redeemed for any number of nice new products chosen from the comfort of your armchair.
This has a danger of twisting the way society looks upon the meaning of loyalty. Sub-consciously we can be interpreting it's meaning to be that of the reward offered, how much it will be and what can I get with it? Some can be confused by this type of loyalty and find it difficult not receiving any direct or tangible rewards for their efforts or involvement.
There are a few instances within Taekwon-Do where some have been heard to say, "I pay all this money to the organisation and feel my students and I get very little in return. " I do all this work and turn up to help at most events but feel I receive little praise".
These comments are of someone who expects to receive reward for showing loyalty to the Taekwon-Do brand.
Loyalty within Taekwon-do has a more concentrated structure. It can be likened to the loyalty felt towards ones family. Family loyalty can be built from trust, experience, leadership, direction, understanding, humility and patience. All these attributes can be found within Taekwon-do and help to build a strong sense of loyalty.
Loyalty is not a direct conclusion of any one or combination of accomplishments. It is not something that can be demanded or vigorously pursued. Loyalty to ones family, Taekwon-do or friends is made up of many shared experiences both positive and negative. It is how we interact with others and the discussions we make which concern or directly influence those people that will determine any shared loyalty.
Loyalty does not just live in the present with those that we come in contact with now but can also come from the past. Many of the events we remember fondly can influence and shape our present loyalties. Experiences which at the time may have been difficult but we look back now with a smile or of friends and acquaintances now passed and the experiences shared and remembered fondly.
It is the combination of all our life's experience and interactions that build loyalty for our self and from others. It can be very fragile and does not only increase but can also diminish. In a system of rank the highest ranking are looked upon to be able to show unwavering loyalty. This is not a job description, more a product of experience and knowledge.
If those at the top are not united in their efforts and loyal to the brand then any who follow have no direction or path and the system fails.
Loyalty is not a journey with a straight path and there is no final destination where you can sit down and say "yes I'm here". It can not be quantified by any ability to return a benefit to you. The experience and wisdom you receive from continued input and attention over an extended period of time will see a shift from, what can I get out of this to what can I do to make it keep happening so others may benefit as I have and can I make it any better for all those who follow?
True loyalty in Taekwon–Do, for both the Art and fellow students, derives from making a conscious effort away from practising what is taught as a sport, through to understanding the philosophy and finally incorporating the knowledge learnt as a way of life.
The word loyalty defines ongoing commitment and duty to stand alongside someone or something that you believe to be good, important and mutually supporting.
In an idealistic way loyalty is a mutually benefiting arrangement. Both parties can earn eachothers respect through acts that create commitment to each other or where one party assist theother and a bond is created with the intent to repay the support.
Loyalty is called into question in a situation where one party faces a decision that will affect theother, and the choice that is made results in either a negative or positive effect on the relationship. Someone is considered loyal in this situation if they choose the decision that has a positive effecton the relationship, even if it means denying them a favorably considered outcome of thealternative decision.
A high level of loyalty can be considered in an act that requires no payment in return. However, there may be many basis for loyalty including family, friendship, relationship, student/instructorrelationship, employment, bought and demanded loyalty. The extent of loyalty normally willgrow with the length of involvement between two parties in a relationship.
I owe many important life events to my involvement with ITFNZ Taekwon-Do. It was at a Taekwon-Do camp in the role of marketing director, where I met a man who offered me my first job. Shortly later Master McPhail gave me the opportunity of being a business consultant for the first time. Upon shifting to Auckland and traveling abroad Taekwon-Do people provided places for me to stay. Many of my best friends have resulted from Taekwon-Do. The unique opportunities, challenges and support of ITFNZ has provided me with everlasting skills that I have used in my personal and business endeavors. For these reasons and others to numerous tomention, I am extremely loyal and indebted to Taekwon-Do, and the people and organisation of ITFNZ.
It is saddening to note that over time ITFNZ members become disillusioned with people, acts, and decisions that have supposedly been made by ITFNZ, attributing individual acts to a tarnished image of the organisation as a whole. However, ITFNZ is more than any one person. Neither we forget that ITFNZ exists only in the heart of every student and every instructor, and in the passion of its elected administrators. Its movement forward represents the collective mutual loyalty of its members to serve each other and the common purpose.
While the organisation has excelled due to the loyalty of key members, we all have seen less involvement in clubs, events and in administration. There is certainly a generational shift in society where the exception has become contribution. While laws and rules assist to demand contribution, it is through the inspiring leadership of our generals and captains that we will nurture and inspire future generations to commit with loyalty to the pursuit of this grand vision.
Giving is a contagious and key part of loyalty. If we as instructors can demonstrate unnerving loyalty we will inspire students in our schools to do the same. It is then also our responsibility to provide opportunities for others to give of themselves, become involved and grow loyalty one step at a time, just like we did.
'Loyalty' is defined literally as 'faithfulness or a devotion to a person or cause' and depending on this setting this can have a number of variables contributing to it and obviously far ranging outcomes. Just to illustrate a few examples or varying levels of 'loyalty' before related back to the Taekwon-do way of life, examples include:
You could say that the most basic loyalty evolved from a kinship with family, a gene pool, friends etc. The creating a close knit unit (e.g. tribe) where being outcast from this could be construed as the ultimate and most unthinkable rejection.
The rise of nations meant that loyalty was used to gain allegiance to a government or a royalty. That same can be said for religion or belief system.
Money/business has its own spin on loyalty where customers are 'loyal' to a favourite brand. The focus of profit has meant that 'loyalty' lies not with the country but with the company (where ever it is based).
Moving into Taekwon-Do, reading the encyclopaedia, syllabus handbooks, and oral teachings from instructors the concept of loyalty is slowly nurtured. From a historical perspective the writings are laden with examples, such as:
I'm sure in the rest of the ITF Taekwon-Do patterns there are more examples where importance is placed on 'Loyalty'.
In years gone by life and death came swiftly and cheaply with all the constant warring therefore I think the concept of 'Loyalty' was taken to almost fanatical levels. In todays society it is a little rarer to see people dying for there 'loyalties', except perhaps for the heavily religious nations where wars are still prevalent.
Honing down to the individual in Taekwon-Do I think loyalty is essential however there are boundaries for me and I will elaborate on this later.
Loyalty examples in my opinion are:
Loyalty in my opinion should not however be blind. What I mean by this is loyalty should be sensible not fanatical. Throughout life we need to actually use our brains and common sense. Loyalty to teaching is important but not when it surpasses our sensibilities. This can, however this can be hard when learning something new and your ability levels are unknown, therefore a degree of trust needs to be fostered (one of five human virtues).
To continue to advance and to further knowledge in Taekwon-Do it is important to know when the current instructor you are loyal to is unable to help you in this. Now, blind loyalty would mean that you stay stagnant in your training, however a good instructor should recognise when their knowledge base is exceeded or style of teaching no longer suits the path the student is on and should redirect the student to the appropriate Do-Jang/Instructor to carry on with the Taekwon-Do journey.
In summation, 'Loyalty' is a cornerstone to many things, in it's essence it stops us just drifting through life as it gives us a sense of belonging, a place to put our energy and to give a form of meaning to existence!
Now day's loyalty is a hard thing to come by.
You can not achieve loyalty alone, it takes two.
As a young person I have noticed that we live in a very disposable world. It is getting worse as technology progresses. We live in a fast paced society where everything is at our fingertips and affordable. Eg: food, cell phones, cars, jobs and in some cases friends. The younger generation, I believe are the worst, because they are used to being able to replace straight away something that has been lost or broken and have forgotten simple things in life such as loyalty, whether to a person or an object.
To me loyalty is a huge part of my life and I like to think I am a very loyal person. I heard a quote that I think is a good way of looking at loyalty and I try and remember it in not just Tae kwon-Do but in all parts of my life
"If my friends were to jump off a bridge, I would not follow them, I'd be at the bottom to catch them"
It is a great way of looking at things, that no matter what, within reason, my friends do, I will be there to help.
To me true loyalty is someone that is there for you in good times and bad, in fact when trouble comes your way, true friends are there for the worst. BUT there is a difference in blind loyalty. Sometimes you have to make a decision for yourself and at times people may not agree with it.
When I was younger my Instructor left ITFNZ and as his student I followed my Instructor. At the time it seemed like the right thing to do, but looking back on it now, it was not right for me. I had passed the point where he could help me grow.
As Instructors I think we have to realize when a student has passed our knowledge base and be willing to let them continue to improve even if under other instruction.
The TKD Bible says that the best day for an Instructor is the day a student surpasses them. I agree and think it is one of the biggest compliments a student can do for their Instructor.
My Instructor Mr Steve McQuillan has not trained me for the past four years due to work commitments, but even still, he is and will always be my Instructor.
Loyalty in this instance has worked both ways a) I am still loyal after four years of not training together b) Mr McQuillan was and is a loyal instructor over the past ten years.
I don't know of many 30 year old single men who would pay their own way around the world to coach a group of kids, the hundreds of hours he spent trying to get us up to world standards. His only thanks was the look on our faces when he saw us achieve our goals.
I will never forget Mr McQuillan's help and support and will always remain loyal and try my best to never forget the effort and patience he must have had.
In return I am striving to pass on the knowledge of loyalty that Mr McQuillan and other Senior members in ITFNZ have given me, and hope that one day my students will have the same respect and loyalty that I have for my Instructor.
I believe that without the qualities that TKD has given me I would not be the person I am today.
I think within Taekwon-Do, students and supporters are some of the best and most loyal friends I have made.
Loyalty is not a sometimes thing, it is an all the time thing. It does not come and go. It is not in what you say, but in what you do.
Loyalty is faithfulness or a devotion to a person or cause.
Plato said that "only a man who is just can be loyal, and that loyalty is a condition of genuine philosophy."
Lao Tzu’s take on loyalty:
"When people lost sight of the way to live
Came codes of love and honesty,
Hypocrisy took charge;
When differences weakened family ties
Came benevolent fathers and dutiful sons;
And when lands were disrupted and misgoverned
Came ministers commended as loyal."
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loyalty) The above are quoted from this website dictionary.
The clinical definition of loyalty is easy. And by using words like devotion, sincerity, honesty, and trust; a picture of a person who simply does the right thing when confronted with ethical decisions is easily established in the mind.
As a student progresses through the ranks, and more skill in Taekwon-Do is learned, so to is more knowledge of the philosophical side gained. Until such a time that a wise student reaches a stage where they realise that the philosophy Taekwon-Do is built on, is more important than the actual techniques of self defence themselves.
For, in learning a martial art, a deadly skill is gained. But without the philosophical moral code to use that skill wisely, the student is in danger of becoming everything that Taekwon-Do was designed to prevent.
Taekwon-Do training in preparation for grading to 4th Dan includes an in-depth study of what it means to be a loyal and virtuous person. Loyalty is devotion. Devotion to the art, to the history, to one’s instructor, and to the founder.
Loyalty is also to one’s family, one’s friends, and especially to oneself. Someone who doesn’t believe in these values, cannot remain loyal to them. You cannot steal from your family if you are loyal to them. You cannot become a criminal if you are a loyal person, for to do so means you have betrayed your parents, your friends, and yourself. You have in every sense, become disloyal.
Loyalty to me is simply all the things above. It is the little things and the big things in my life. For me, Taekwon-Do is not the most important thing; my family is. And sometimes being loyal to both is a compromise. I want to be there for everything my kids do, or my wife is doing. However I also have a responsibility to Taekwon-Do. The two have often clashed. But I have made a commitment to live by the moral codes and the philosophy of Taekwon-Do because I believe in them. I value them. And these values, including loyalty, I teach to my children and try to be an example for my friends and colleagues.
Sometimes Taekwon-Do misses out, and sometimes my family does. This is not disloyalty to either. It is a compromise, realising that the two can co-exist, and each can benefit the other. This is in fact loyalty to both.
General Choi valued loyalty very highly. And perhaps after all the betrayals that he suffered he is more qualified than anyone I know to talk about what loyalty means. From reading his memoirs I get the impression that he was deeply hurt by the betrayals of the instructors who turned from him, and each betrayal only stood to strengthen his resolve to spread Taekwon-Do, and to encourage those who followed the true Taekwon-Do, to also follow the philosophy that forms it’s heart. I am loyal to this.