I’m going to attempt a not-too-harsh critique of what I observed at the U.S. Junior Olympics – Tae Kwon Do (TKD). If you were one of the many competitors, please take this post as a teaching tool and not one of shame.
Let me begin first by telling you how a young martial artist should behave at ALL times. They should be disciplined (honorable), respectful, self-controlled, show a positive attitude, and an indomitable spirit. Martial arts instructors refer these character traits as “tenets” of the martial arts.
The Apostle Paul made this remark in 1 Thessalonians 4: 11-12:
“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”
I strongly believe your character wins you respect from others.
Being present at the JOs for five days, at the Georgia Dome, I witnessed the behavior of many competitors, coaches, and instructors. Overall, only a handful of those displayed the tenets as mentioned above. Even event security personnel unknowingly displayed many of the tenets. As I was respectful to security, they returned respect and they were very, very helpful.
Here are witnessed examples of how martial artists, young and old, should NOT act like:
1. Students, with their doboks and belts on, ran carelessly through the Georgia Dome with little care for anyone else. No, they weren’t going to their next event. They were goofing off.
2. Coaches and instructors had no respect for the volunteers on the floor. “Rude” is the word I often heard. A specific case happened to my oldest son, who had a run-in with a rude ‘master’. My son volunteered for 12 hours and was told by many volunteers, and his own Masters, how respectful and wonderful a job he did. I almost lost my cool with this so-called, ‘master’, who committed the offense. But, thankfully, my family and TKD families calmed me down. If you want to be rude and a jerk, do it to an adult, not a child!
3. In addition to the above, tournament leaders were disrespectful with volunteers and competitors.
4. Referees and judges were not respectful to one another.
I find the above examples very disturbing in light of a world who needs to see us for who we are: disciplined (honorable), respectful, self-controlled, with a positive attitude, and an indomitable spirit. We must continue to live through these tenets and always rise above mediocrity.