Similarities of Tae Kwon-Do students and Blue Sky learners

I have been at Blue Sky School for a little over a year, and it has recently come to my attention that the core skills of Tae Kwon-Do and Blue Sky overlap in many ways.

In Tae Kwon-Do, there are the five values, or as we call them, Tenets. The Tenets of Tae Kwon-Do are; Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control, Indomitable Spirit

At Blue Sky School, we also have values, or Ideals. We believe that the ultimate Learner will show all of these. The ideals of Blue Sky School are; Kindness, Curiosity, Responsibility

 At first, you might not think that these overlap, but once we get into dissecting them, they all work together to create the best learner there can be.

First, let’s tackle Courtesy. This one was the easiest to dissect for me. First of all, it’s a direct synonym for Kindness, as seen on Courtesy and Kindness can also be shown in very similar ways. In Tae Kwon-Do, courtesy is shown by saying ‘Yes Sir/Ma’am’, and standing straight with hands behind. At Blue Sky School, Kindness is shown by including others, sitting next to new people, and using the Nurtured Heart Approach. But the most common way they are shown in both environments, is simply being polite! In conclusion, Courtesy and Kindness are very similar, and can be shown both in Tae Kwon-Do and at Blue Sky School.

Integrity is the ultimate indication that a Blue Sky learner has mastered the ideals of kindness, curiosity, and responsibility. 
In a TKD (Tae Kwon-Do) setting, integrity can sometimes have a simpler meaning. It can simply mean to follow the rules. At TKD, we have very strict guidelines for how to role model to the younger generation. At Blue Sky, because we are in a mixed age group, we also have a responsibility to model integrity, but in a very different way- we model integrity by owning up to our mistakes and by showing kindness, curiosity and responsibility. When you think about it, integrity is all-encompassing. To have integrity, you need to demonstrate all of the BSS ideals: Kindness, Curiosity and Responsibility. At Blue Sky, we often talk about wanting our learners to show integrity not because they are afraid of getting in trouble, but because they want to own their growth and learning. defines integrity as “Adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty”. Do I agree with their definition? Yes and no. Yes, because I do believe that moral and ethical principles play a part in integrity. No, because all they talk about is moral soundness. I think that integrity is so much more than that, I think integrity is all of the things I mention priorly, integrity is; modeling to younger people, owning up to mistakes, demonstrating kindness, curiosity and responsibility. Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching. Integrity is all-encompassing.

Now, let’s dissect perseverance! In both environments perseverance has a similar meaning; it means not giving up. In a Tae Kwon-Do setting, perseverance is described as “try, try, try until you triumph,” which I think is a very appropriate definition because it’s about not giving up until you achieve your goal. In a Tae Kwon-Do environment, this is shown by sticking to training, and reaching the most common goal in Martial Arts, getting your black belt. The final goal is very clear.  At Blue Sky School, perseverance is very similar, in the sense that Blue Sky learners show perseverance by pushing through road blocks when they encounter them. When you choose the skills and projects you want to develop, a Blue Sky learner knows that facing challenges is necessary for growth. We rise to these challenges and believe that we can do hard things.
Every learner chooses skills to develop. To make significant growth, building a routine or habit is necessary. Repetition is how you lock something in your brain. It’s how you build a habit. However, repetition can feel tedious. An example of this repetition is numeracy practice. Every learner commits to 20 minutes of independent numeracy practice per day. To persevere for a Blue Sky learner means valuing the process of doing hard things because you know it will pay off. 

Self-Control is about mastering your mind. Unlike the other traits self-control is displayed in very different ways depending on the environment. In Tae Kwon-Do, self-control is defined as “Control and master your attitude, your feelings, your emotions, your behaviour, and your actions, inside and outside the Dojang.” I think this definition could use some revision, because although controlling and mastering all of these things is important, I believe that you don’t always need to be in control of everything. Sometimes you need to let things out. Self-control is also shown by physically not hurting someone else, by knowing your own strength, and having control in your body. At Blue Sky, self-control is more internal, and is displayed by reframing your thoughts to display kindness. At Blue Sky self-control is more similar to self-regulation, self-awareness, and taking a reset. Reset is a way to mentally, physically or physiologically regulated ourselves. We often use this term at Blue Sky, it is used most commonly as a part of the Nurtured Heart Approach.

Indomitable Spirit! Now you may be wondering, “what the heck is that?” Indomitable Spirit is a term used quite often in Tae Kwon-Do, and Martial Arts in general. In Tae Kwon-Do, it is defined as “no matter what, believe you can do it; you can overcome obstacles, conquer your fears, achieve your goals, realize your dreams, and fulfil your destiny. The only time you fail is when you quit, so never give up on yourself,”. Although fulfilling your destiny sounds like a lot of pressure, in reality it isn’t what we practice. At Blue Sky, although we don’t use the term of Indomitable Spirit, we use the meaning quite a bit. We talk a lot about the term “I can do hard things”. Learners often know something is hard, and go for it because it is hard. Learners persevere, and don’t give up. We have even had workshops about believing in ourselves, and not giving up with Mentor Jenna.

Now I have some food for thought for you, the reader. How do YOU use Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control, and Indomitable Spirit as well as Kindness, Curiosity, and Responsibility in your life?


  1. You sure showed perseverance in writing this blog post!


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