What is the real meaning of self-discipline?

Self-discipline is the most frequently requested item of parents when they inquire about starting a Martial Arts class for their child(ren). Of course, some are for confidence to help with shyness, concentration to help with ADD/ADHD, and many more, but Discipline is #1


What is self-discipline? 

"Discipline" is derived from the root word "disciple," meaning a follower or student of a parent, teacher, or leader. Discipline implies "learning," "training," "practicing," "punishment," "result of learning," "branch of knowledge," etc. Every meaning of discipline relates to learning. Therefore, to understand discipline at a deeper level, we must study learning.

As Fillmore Swain(1857- 1931) said in his book “How to Study”,
“Education is an opportunity, nothing more. It will not guarantee success, or happiness, or contentment, or riches… It may make a man more capable of doing harm in the world, for an educated scoundrel is clearly more dangerous than an ignorant one… The student is not an empty vessel to be pumped full of learning; he is a complex machine which education should help to run properly… Properly employed, however, and combined with high character, with a due regard for the rights of others, and with simple and practicable but high ideals, it should help a man very greatly in making himself of service in the world and so in making his life really successful in the highest sense.” 


We can learn both good and evil.

He makes a critical point that we overlook. Learning(education) isn't always good because we can learn both good and evil. The problem is that we do not fully understand that the human mind is made up of two completely different domains: the capacity to think and the capacity to feel. Ethics comes from our emotional ability (to feel) and competence comes from our cognitive ability (to think). Students who do not learn ethics, but only competence, can have a catastrophe that can ruin society and themselves. In the modern world, discipline isn’t easy because people seek to profit from competence without regard for ethics. Therefore, proper discipline is not based on expanding competence but on learning a productive value system and developing a higher character.


What are the core values we should have and teach our students?

Identity - “We are all born originals - why is it so many of us die copies?” -Edward Young(1681 - 1765) 

I must know what and who I am in order to live my best life.  Without knowing that I would live someone else’s life. What a sad life that would be! 

Value System - What is important to me as well as to society?

The following statement from “School: The story of American Public Education”, Introduction page 7-8 by David Tyack will answer. “Reformers today recognize that no amount of wishful thinking can transform politics of education into neutral administration, for schooling is and always has been intrinsically value-laden. The question is not whether politics but whose politics.” 

David Tyack's point is that there is a contradiction in public education. They cannot teach the value system of ethics that ​​students must learn to remain politically neutral because “learning is intrinsically value-laden.”

The main reason most American parents seek answers for self-discipline through the study of Martial Arts is that Martial Arts focuses on ethics and principles. Public education no longer does that.


Every parent needs help from the village.

In the past, every parent and child received help from a community, such as grandparents, neighbors, siblings, and many other sources. That is why it is said, "It takes a village to raise a child." Where is the village nowadays? Why do we no longer have villages? The social structure changed from the early 19th century due to the Industrial Revolution. People’s lifestyles changed from a rural to a city setting, from a large extended family to a nuclear family. As a result, our value system has been destroyed. There has been no replacement for a sound value system since the Industrial Revolution. This change confuses society. That is why we teach knowledge in schools, but not wisdom; science, but not how to be human; and memorizing information, but not how to think. To put it another way, we teach competence, not ethics. The serious problem we face is that there is no public standard for core values.


Parenting is the most challenging task in the world. That is why parents need guidance to accomplish successful parenting. 

Parenting is one of the most challenging jobs in the world. In addition, modern parents have a heavy burden to bear. Parents are responsible for disciplining their children on their own without village assistance. As a father, I am with you in this regard. 

I grew up in Korea, came to the USA as a young man, and have taught Martial Arts (Taekwondo) for 45 years. In addition, I am the founder of the Human EngineerⓇ and have developed the system to do engineering work instead of guesswork when teaching and guiding your child(ren).

Give me 90 days and you will see a definite result; however, you will see a difference from the very first introductory class. 

I strongly encourage you to schedule an intro class right now.

Thank you for reading