Shoes Outside the Dojang
By M. Hege
Shoes. Why do we remove our shoes before entering the studio? The short answer is
out of respect and tradition. But there is more it than that. Jidokwan traditions
are never practiced without underlined reasons. Remember, physically our art is
one primarily of using our feet. We should be reminded to have a good foundation.
We show our respect to our fellow students by taking our shoes off before we enter
and not bringing the dirt or odors from our shoes into the studio. But that is not
Everything we do, even outside the studio may be considered martial art practice,
including taking off our shoes. Before we remove our shoes, take a moment to view
rightly the other shoes already placed there. Then think rightly, are they aligned
straight? Are they organized in neat orderly rows? To a new student visiting our
studio for the first time, does the placement of the shoes outside the door reflect
the pride we hold for our studio? If not, take a moment to act rightly and straighten
Place them in pairs side by side, large to small. In this way we honor our studio
and we honor our art. By straightening the shoes, we also lead by example, allowing
others to emulate our right actions, whom in turn, may be inspired to follow. We
are doing more than straightening shoes. Just as when we practice Taekwondo we are
doing more than punching and kicking.We are striving to develop our character, and
to be of service to others. In this way we grow our wisdom and maintain our sense
of discipline, purpose and respect. Then we may rightly receive honor.
If the shoes are already carefully placed when you arrive, consider with respect
how and where to place ones own shoes. Take pride in the work, not in yourself.
Be considerate of others. In this way we can clear our mind, humble ourselves, and
begin the practice of Taekwondo before even entering the studio. In this way we
have an opportunity to practice the spirit of Taekwondo off the mat.
Will the shoes get mixed up again? Yes, of course! But this does not reduce the
importance of acting rightly. Thus is life. That is why we continue to practice.
To continue to make corrections and improvements. Now, take a moment to observe
the work. At this point one may consider how we are like our shoes. Are we clean
and neat? Are we orderly and placed with purpose? Or, are we a stinky pile in a
jumbled mess? Will we get mixed up again? Of course! We are now ready to enter the
studio with a proper attitude and continue the work we have already started outside,
on the inside.
Shoes outside the studio
jumbled stinky mess.
Stop consider our purpose,
spirit of cleanliness.
Humbly place the shoes
orderly thoughtful rows.
Focus on our practice,
wisdom then grows.
8 Mannerisms of Solemnity
12th principle in "The Twenty Guiding Priciples of Karate: The Spiritual Legacy
of the Master" by Gichin Funakoshi
The Bible, John 13:1-20