The Five Tenets - Aikido Articles

Firstly, let me start by asking you to think of the five Tenets. As a WTF Taekwondo practitioner, they are: Etiquette, Modesty, Perseverance, Self Control, Indomitable Spirit, with our ITF cousins using Courtesy and Integrity as their first two. Other Martial Arts have their Code of Conduct, and while the words may differ, the principles remain the same.

Now let me ask how many of you practise these - not only in the Dojang (training hall), but also throughout each day? When I started training 18 years ago, I was told that there was a big difference between a Martial Artist, and someone who "just did" martial arts. The difference was that someone who "just did" martial arts would remember the Five Tenets whilst in the Dojang and then forget about them outside. A Martial Artist - irrespective of his or her belt - would remember the Five Tenets at all times and attempt to abide by them.

This has stuck with me ever since, and remains something that I fall back to when I feel that I am being tested. But let me make it clear that my Dobok (uniform) does not have a built-in dog collar! Do I make mistakes? Absolutely! Have I given up on something too quickly? Probably! Can I improve myself in the way that I deal with problems and people? Definitely!

Unfortunately, over the years, I have noticed a distinct lack of regard for the Five Tenets in different areas of Taekwondo. Sadly, this includes some of the higher ranking Black Belts, who seem to get a serious bout of "Tenet Amnesia" whenever politics rears its ugly head! Surely these individuals must realise the detrimental effect this has on the lower grade students and the Spirit of Martial Arts as a whole.

I also remember an article in Combat Magazine a few years ago, when a senior Black Belt described his organisation as "The Manchester United of Taekwondo", (Modesty - Check!). Now, by sheer co-incidence, Manchester United finished 2nd that season, and someone else pointed out to me that apart from their own supporters, most people dislike them! I certainly hope that this wasn't the message that the instructor was trying to convey, but I'm more than happy for my club to be "The Accrington Stanley of Taekwondo" if all of my students adhere to the Five Tenets!

This brings me on to my main area of concern - the competition arena. Obviously, it's good to have a large number of team mates, friends and family supporting each competitor, but how often have we seen the Five Tenets completely ignored, and members of the crowd acting like they're at a football ground? Club instructors really need to inform family members and friends who have never trained in Martial Arts, that they are in a Dojang and must abide by our Tenets when attending a competition. The sight of 5 year olds, barely visible under all the body armour, looking like rabbits caught in headlights, desperately holding back the tears, while their parents are screaming: "KILL HIM!" and "TAKE HIS HEAD OFF!" (usually coupled with some expletives!) is pretty disturbing.

Instructors also need to control team mates cheering on colleagues. On a few occasions whilst acting as Centre Referee, I've had Corner Judges verbally abused by members of the crowd - mostly competitor's team mates, who are forgetting something important - ETIQUETTE!

During my time working as a referee, Gurumu Taekwondo stood out as a great example of talent and sportsmanship, and how the Five Tenets should be adhered to. Their fighters were always hard to beat, but it was their impeccable manners which made them stand out from the other groups. If I was refereeing a fight between 2 Gurumu team mates, I knew that the fight would be exciting and I would have no trouble from the coaches, team mates or supporters. It's just a shame that more clubs don't adopt this approach in order to retain the spirit of Martial Arts and prevent it deteriorating, as I believe it has in Football.

I still regard the mid 70's as the golden era for Football, and I'm not just saying this because QPR were one of the best teams in the country! But players played more for the glory, and my early idols such as Stan Bowles went on to work in a tile shop in Brentford, while Phil Parkes became a carpenter. Unfortunately, Football has evolved to a point where there is no loyalty. Players are paid a fortune, then many dive, play-act and cheat in order to get their fellow "professional" sent off. Managers can be sacked for finishing 2nd and fans view the verbal abuse of match officials as part of the game.

The last thing that we want to see is Martial Arts heading in the same direction. Parents bring their children to my club because they like the ethics that Martial Arts has to offer - that's what makes Martial Arts so special. It doesn't matter whether you are a White Belt or 10th Dan, the Five Tenets are the guidelines which we need to refer back to time and time again. This will help us to prevent a decline in standards, and ensure that all future generations of Martial Artists enjoy the high level that we enjoy today. If not, and standards slip in the same way Football has, the Five Tenets for future generations could read as follows: Disrespect, Boast, Cheat, Lie, Give Up!

Tony Butcher
(4th Dan Black Belt)
Head Instructor
Ickenham Taekwondo Club

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Aikido is a modern Japanese Martial Art and is very different from disciplines such as Karate, Kick Boxing, Taekwondo, Kung Fu, MMA, BJJ, Kempo and Krav Maga where there is emphasis on kicking, punching or wrestling.

Aikido is an extremely efficient self defence (also as Self-Defence Women London) system utilising balance-taking and posture-breaking movements to achieve joint locks, pins and throws. It contains elements of Ju Jitsu, Kendo, Judo and other budo.

Aikido Classes are held every Tuesday and Wednesday evening at our Harrow dojo, and Thursday evening at our Pinner dojo in NW London. Pinner Aikido Club London is a part of the Kai Shin Kai International Traditional Aikido Association (KSK), which is a member of the British Aikido Board (BAB).

Aikido is essentially a non-violent Martial art system that encourages the avoidance of confrontation and harmony with an aggressor. The classes are well attended with Aikido students always on the mat and aimed at all levels, from beginner to advanced but everyone is welcome to come along regardless of fitness or experience.

Our Aikido students work at their own pace during the training sessions and no one is forced into doing anything they are not comfortable with.
Pinner Aikido Club in London can help you achieve self-defense skills, self-esteem, confidence, and fitness. Most of all though, our classes are fun.

You do not have to be competitive or naturally athletic to take part in the Aikido class. Learning Aikido is about self-improvement and self-confidence.

Regardless of your size, body type and current level of physical ability or disability. If you are looking for a healthier, more confident way of life, then the modern art of Aikido may well be for you.

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