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South African Tang Soo Do Academy

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The Five Codes of Tang Soo Do

  1. Loyalty to Country
  2. Obedience to Parents
  3. Honour Friendship
  4. No Retreat in Battle
  5. In Fighting, Choose with Sense and Honour

The Five Codes were drafted by a Monk called Won Kwang, during the Silla Dynasty of Korea, about 1800 years ago.  It served as a code of conduct for warriors.  It has been adapted to fit modern times, but the meanings still remain clear:


Code
Meaning
Loyalty to Country Here, country not only implies what state one lives in, it also implies one's community, or society.  It means to be loyal to one's roots, defend one's one, etc.
Obedience to Parents
Here, "Parents" also mean one's elders, teachers, instructors, etc.  This teaches us respect towards others.
Honour Friendship
Friendship here is written as a concept, without plural.  It reminds us that our ties to other people, whether they are brothers, sisters, colleagues, friends, etc., are of vital importance.  This code is meant to teach us trust and unity.
No retreat in battle
While the immediate meaning is very clear, the word "battle" is meant to signify much more.  We all have our personal battles to fight, in our job, in our relationships and even in our very character.  Here, we get the inspiration not to retreat from these personal ordeals, to keep pushing forward to attain our goals.
In fighting, choose with sense and honour
When we are locked in battle, whether it be physical, mental or spiritual, we have been given the power to choose.  In our personal lives, as well as in public, our choices have a big influence on our character.  With this code, we are reminded that we must be wise when shaping our character.



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