Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Trump Gets His Black Belt

Yesterday at Mar-a-Lago, the former US president Donald Trump received an honorary 9th degree black belt in the Korean martial art of tae kwon do. It should be noted that Trump is not the only world political figure to be bestowed such an honor. In 2013, Russian president Vladimir Putin was awarded the same honor  during a visit to South Korea. 

Though neither man has actually ever practiced tae kwon do, Putin does hold a black belt in judo, an art he has been training in since he was 11. 

As an Okinawan karate practitioner, my articles on tae kwon do have been comparatively limited. So here is a good opportunity to list the philosophical tenets of the martial art:


  • Courtesy: Politeness and respect for others, behaving in a well-mannered and civil fashion.
  • Integrity: Showing good character, honesty, and decency.
  • Perseverance: The willingness to continue to struggle against all odds to reach a goal.
  • Self-Control: Keeping one's emotions, desires, and impulses in check, particularly in difficult or trying circumstances.
  • Indomitable Spirit:  An attribute shown when a courageous person and his principles are pitted against overwhelming odds. Unconquerable.


Like other arts, tae kwon do endeavors to make not just good fighters, but good people who possess inner strength and moral rectitude. These are attributes anyone should aspire to. 

While one could only hope an 'honorary' black belt can produce such a result on its own, I respectfully have my doubts.

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