Our final attitude requirement for Tang Soo Do is “Cleanliness is required after training. Keep yourself and your surroundings clean.”
Physical hygiene is essential for your health and the health of those you train with at Soar Tang Soo Do. Gyms are generally hot and humid environments. They are the perfect breeding ground for all sorts of bacteria and fungi. Due to the nature of our training, skin-to-skin contact is frequent and can facilitate the spread of various skin conditions such as ringworm and staph. If you have had even a mild case of ringworm,1 you know how uncomfortable it is. It is essential to be diligent in following basic hygiene rules.
Spiritual “hygiene” is also crucial for personal health. David wrote in Psalm 51, “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! . . . Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (verses 2 and 10). Psalm 51 is a personal lament and penance. It does not contain a complaint against an enemy because David is his own enemy. It is a confession of transgression against God and man while pleading for reconciliation.2 This psalm is one of the seven penitential psalms along with Psalms 6; 38; 102; 130; and 143.3 David knew that he could only address God as a repentant man who has sinned against God’s holiness. David also knew that he could only rely on God’s grace because no action or obedience is good enough to meet God’s holy standard – perfection. David continued in verse 17 writing, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” The only way we can approach the Lord with a clean heart is to place ourselves entirely at His mercy with faith in the grace and atonement offered only through Jesus Christ. Paul said it marvelously in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” The clean heart David asked for and the sacrifice God required cannily be found in Jesus Christ.
1. See WebMD for a description of Ringworm. (https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/what-you-should-know-about-ringworm)
2. Nancy deClaissé-Walford and Beth Tanner, “Book Two of the Psalter: Psalms 42–72,” in The Book of Psalms, ed. E. J. Young, R. K. Harrison, and Robert L. Hubbard Jr., The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2014), 454.
3. Robert G. Bratcher and William David Reyburn, A Translator’s Handbook on the Book of Psalms, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1991), 302, 467.