Class BowingLet’s go over the formal custom of the opening and closing ceremony, (bowing into and out of class). While lined up, you will be standing in a relaxed posture or relaxed position, known in military terms as “At Ease.” When the command for attention, “Cha-yreot, “ is heard you will immediately transition from that relaxed position to a formal attention stance. Straighten your posture and draw the left foot to the right while simultaneously placing your open hands on the sides of your hip. Look straight ahead with as little movement as possible.

Relaxed To Attention Stance 400x531Once all students are recognized to be at attention, intently listening and ready for commands, the instructor will turn towards the flags signaling the senior to say “kukki e tae hae,”commanding the class to follow suit and turn to face the flags as well. Typically there are at least three flags, an American flag, an Olympic Rings flag due to the Olympic style being instructed, and a South Korean flag to honor the country from which taekwondo has its roots. Once the entire class has turned to the flags, the instructor will bow to the flags, signaling the senior student to say “kyung nae,”calling for the class to bow to the flags. We do this out of respect for our country, the art, its origin, and history.

The instructor will then turn towards the student body signaling the senior student to say “sah bum nim kae.” calling for everyone to face the head instructor. Once the entire class has turned to the instructor, the senior student will call for everyone to bow, by saying “kyung nae.” The students bow first and the instructor bows afterward to the class.

Next the instructor will turn towards the senior student signaling the second highest ranking student standing directly to the senior student’s left to say “sun bah nim kae,” calling for the class to face the senior student also. The same student will then call for the class to bow to the senior student out of respect for them, their rank, and the work put into becoming senior student, by saying “kyung nae.” The instructor will then bow to the senior student as well.

After everyone rises from the last bow students should again face the instructor and remain in attention stance awaiting direction. 90% of the time the very next command will be from the instructor calling for the class to sit and meditate, “anj uh mook nyum.” This is a formal custom to give the class time to clear their minds, forget about the outside world, and prepare for training. Closing ceremony after class is identical.