What is the significance of bowing when entering dojang (school) , entering mat and  before class?

We always bow when entering and leaving the dojang (hall). This is not just a ritual. Each and every time we bow before class, we are acknowledging that we are going to learn and listen to the best of our ability and, upon leaving, that we are going to respect what we have been taught and never use it in a harmful way. Bowing at the threshold of the dojang also shows the student's appreciation of traditional taekwondo and acknowledges the boundary that separates the routine of our everyday life from the training atmosphere of the dojang.


It can be easy to be confused about the role of etiquette and respect in the martial arts, as it can seem so different to what we are used to.

Taekwondo is a traditional martial art, and traditional martial arts are hierarchical. This hierarchy is all about responsibility: Instructors have a responsibility to teach their students to their upmost ability and integrity. Students in turn have the responsibility of respecting their instruction. While students have control of their decisions on when to use their skills, it is the role of the instructor to instill in the student a sense of respect for these and a full understanding of their responsibilities as a martial artist.

It is the martial arts etiquette that helps Master Yoo maintain the fun, safe and rewarding environment we know and love in White Tiger Martial Arts.

Some basic etiquette for students to recognize:

  • We always pay respect to any student who is graded higher than us. This is because the higher your grade, the more responsibility you have: students will always look up to the black belts and high grades as role models.
  • We always listen respectfully to whoever is teaching us at the time.
  • High belts and instructors should never be dismissive or arrogant when teaching other students. Students are here to learn, and we are here to help them. Our duty is not just to our own training, but to every student who looks up to us.
  • Always be responsible in using your skills. We never use our skills outside the club, unless we are seriously threatened.
  • Self control takes practice; we must work on this all the time.
  • Being honest, direct and respectful to others in class will ensure you get the maximum benefit from your martial arts training.
  • By being disciplined about respect within the club, students will learn to develop a respectful attitude to all people in our lives.