Student Creed

by Sarah Luna

To build true confidence through knowledge in the mind, honesty in the heart, and strength in the body.

To keep friendships with one another and to build a strong and happy community.

These words, which I learned as a yellow belt twelve years ago, resurfaced in my mind today.

This is the first part of the martial artist’s student creed. I have no idea what triggered those words this morning, but as soon as they filled my mind, I thought about my eight years at my Tae Kwon Do studio, my two years on the A&M team, and my life now.

To build true confidence

Confidence has been a big focal point of my reflections this semester. Academic confidence, social confidence, emotional confidence, physical confidence, spiritual confidence. This semester has been characterized by the mortification and constant rebuilding of confidence.

But this is the first time I’ve thought of “true confidence” in the context of the student creed.

through knowledge in the mind

This semester has been almost exclusively focused on academics. I am constantly in awe of the people around me. I feel like a sponge that has been thrown into a never-ending ocean. The more I learn, the more I realize I do not know.

honesty in the heart

As I mentioned before, living alone forces introspection (or in the words of a good friend: “pssh, being you forces introspection”). I’m learning to identify and acknowledge my own feelings and, consequently, express them more often and more effectively. I’ve been challenged (nicely) by more than one person here about specific actions.

I often forget that my new friends don’t know much about me yet. They don’t know my “philosophy on touch” as Drew put it or my fascination with the notion of emotional chastity [pdf] (not just physical, and not that I’m perfect at any of this) or my complete reverence and awe of the human body (I mean, really, just think about what you can do). So when they remark (accurately) that I seem to have a ten-foot bubble or that I need to relax around people (also accurate)…what do I say? Honesty in the heart.

and strength in the body.

Here is where I feel I’ve neglected myself. I haven’t been training at the level I need to be training. Yes, I have ballroom. And yes, it is a blessing. But it doesn’t demand the physical intensity (at least at the level I practice) that I need. It’s no 4-hour sparring workout–that’s for sure. I feel like my body is stagnating. I’ve also failed to nourish myself properly, which is particularly abominable considering my choice of profession.

My nutrition ladies have encouraged me to train for a half-marathon with them. At first, I rejected the notion as crazy. I have never run that far before. But then I stepped back and thought: Why not? This was around the time I attended the lecture on Art and Spirituality and revisited the concept of balance in my life. Since I can’t unload any of my academic responsibilities, the only way to balance is to add artistic and physical outlets to my life. Ballroom, check. Half-marathon, check.

To keep friendships with one another and to build a strong and happy community.

My A&M ladies have been a constant source of support. We’ve scattered in all directions and are heading in different walks of life, but we’re all making the effort to keep the friendship.  Their candor is a reason for confidence.

Our little nutrition group is building a community as well. Even though I’m not as close with them yet, I am so grateful to have these ladies (and gentlemen) as colleagues and friends.


So all of this flooded from those simple words I had memorized when I was ten. I can’t even wait to know what I’ll think twelve years from now.