Published: November 29, 2017

Way of the Master November – Humility

By definition, humility means to humble oneself. But what does that really mean, and what does it mean for a Master of Taekwondo? To humble oneself means to lower oneself- to me that means to submit yourself: to rules and regulations, to authority, to service. A humble person asks: Who am I? Who am I, that I am above following the rules?

Who am I, that I am above affording my juniors and seniors courtesy? Who am I, that I am too important to serve?


Humility will be demonstrated through one’s actions. A humble person will submit themselves to the rules and regulations they agreed to abide by as a Master of the ATA. Simply stated, the rules apply to me and I will follow them. Becoming a Master does not make me too important to follow the rules.

A humble person would the first person to “answer up” not the last. It is easy to afford those who outrank us the necessary courtesies, but humility will be demonstrated by the way that person treats those below them.  “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. My humility will be revealed by they way I treat those who are lower rank than me, and by those whom I instruct. When I treat them with courtesy and respect, or when I listen and value their opinions I am demonstrating my humility because a humble person is not so important that they ignore or treat those below them poorly.

Finally, a person with humility is not too important to serve. There is no job that it “beneath my rank.” I am not too important to judge- moreover, I am not so important that I cannot not keep the score. I can offer my experience, my rank, and my skills to anyone who needs them without expecting pageantry and gifts. As a humble person I can volunteer to serve, not only within the ATA organization, but also within my community. I was recently reminded of this when I went to work a tournament in a neighboring region. As I sat at my table working, the highest rank in the room came by (repeatedly) to ask if she could bring me anything. Naturally, I rebutted with the usual conventions……..”I don’t mind getting it, I know you’re busy, etc” But this person wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer, took my lunch order (and the two people working with me- both of whom were “low rank”) and then delivered it to us. I was reminded in that act of what humility looks like- I am not too important to serve.

I will strive to be a humble Master of the ATA: to abide by the rules and regulations I agreed to, to treat everyone with value and courtesy- regardless of rank, and to serve so that I will be a Master that can be a source of light in the ATA.

Published: November 29, 2017

Categories: Uncategorized, Year of the Master