Bowing as a sign of respect
The area we practice in is called our Dojang (training area). This is an area that must be respected and recognized as such. The most important thing a beginner Tae Kwon Do student can do is respect the Dojang. You should stop and bow as you walk in the Dojang door — bow to the flags and/or the instructors. In many countries, bowing is the equivalent of handshaking in other countries. It is a sign of respect. The flags hanging at the front of the Dojang recognize and pay homage to South Korea, Tae Kwon Do’s place of origin, as well as the United States. This symbol of respect for one’s country is key to the philosophy of Tae Kwon Do. You should also bow as you leave. You are bowing as a sign of respect to Tae Kwon Do, your instructors, and your fellow students.
To bow, stand with your feet together. bring your hands to your sides and bow at the waist. Bowing demonstrates respect, and the action may also be used as a greeting or a thank-you.
Generally, when addressing the instructors one bows and may engage in a handshake. Shaking hands is done in the Korean fashion, where you shake with the right hand while the left arm is bent horizontally across your front supporting the right arm under the elbow. Then you can shake hands with your right hand, and simultaneously bow.