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In the Taekwon-Do classroom we teach many subjects besides just the physical techniques.  Assertiveness is one that should be covered but very carefully.  One of the problems we face today is everyone is worried about being politically correct.  We are taught at a young age that we should not tell anyone anything that might even remotely hurt their feelings.  We are taught not to worry about what we might feel; that is not important and only don’t hurt the others. 

From an article on assertiveness in the workplace; there are five important steps to being assertive within the workplace or life and not be out of line.  They are:

  1. Start with respect.   Respect for your needs and respect for the other person. Care for them enough that you want to share with them some feedback that may be stopping them from being as successful as they could be.”    If you can’t show this person respect you will turn him or her off and then will not hear a word you say.  When you start your conversation it helps to let the person you are talking to know that you understand their point of view but would like to talk about the matter.
  2. Share just the facts.  No accusations, no judgments!”You're rude" - that's simply aggressive behavior.”  Remember this person knows what the subject is and you will not help by telling them that they are problem.  Just tell them what is what without pointing out guilt.  Then you can move on to a solution.
  3. Be open to dialogue.  Once you've shared the facts then it is important to ask a question to get them talking to understand their point of view.”Can you help me to understand why you did this?"  Ok you have stated the facts now it is time to move on try to unravel the problem; all the while you must remember to remain calm and not be judgmental.
  4. Work together to agree on future actions.  Either communicates consequences to the person of behaving in this way in the future. Or work with the person to problem solves how they may fix the problem for the future.”   Here is where you must explain and agree what is wrong and how to fix it or what will happen if it happens again.  Remember it is very important to know who you’re talking with.  Your neighbor or child will be different than talking with someone at work.
  5. Agree on the follow up.  Once you've problem-solved you should agree on what actions either/both of you need to take in the future. Even if it is as simple as getting together in a day or two - just to discuss any thoughts/emotions that have come up from this conversation.”  It is always good to follow up on anything that was important enough to have a discussion about. 

Retrieved July 7, 2009 from

One of things we must do is not confuse aggressiveness with assertiveness.  Aggression is when we feel like we have to have power over another and do it by forcing our self over others.  “Aggression is defined as behavior aimed at causing harm or pain, psychological harm, or personal injury or physical distraction. An important aspect of aggressive behavior is the intention underlying the actor's behavior. Not all behaviors resulting in harm are considered aggression. For example, a doctor who makes an injection that harms people, but who did so with the intent of preventing the further spread of illness, is not considered to have committed an aggressive act.” Retrieved July 7, 2009 from :

To keep from being aggressive and remain assertive one must just remember that the other person has the same rights as you do and you must respect his rights as he should yours.

One of the most important lessons we can teach our younger students is that they have rights and they should be respected but at the same time everyone else also has these rights.  We must be careful and not let it get to being aggressive, but we do not want our children being pushed around not sticking up for their rights.

Our students will learn best from setting a good example.  Show them respect, and then you can expect to get respect back.

So are we teaching the younger generations that they can be assertive without being aggressive?  And are we teaching them not to be a bully but also not to get bullied and what to do about it?  These are subjectsdiscussed in the Taekwon-Do classroom. Remembering that we need to set the example of respect by showing it, and living it every day for our students.  If you practice your life in this manner, for sure it will be shown back to you and every where your students go they will show it to others and live their lives this in this manner.

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