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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Importance of Martial Arts Etiquette , addendum....

I forgot to add a few other points to the importance of etiquette in Martial Arts. These points address the confusing aspects of Wu De (martial ethics):

Students:

1) Try to uphold your ethics even if the seniors and teachers don't do it themselves.
---This can be confusing, because we're supposed to follow our senior's and teacher's leads, right? But teachers are human and make mistakes or might get involved with situations that challenge the ethics of your art or even the morality of the general public. Keep to your manners, and stick to your guns. Don't be the lemming that runs off the cliff just because the others do.

2) Dishonesty is not allowed.
--- Don't lie to your classmates or teachers to cover up something. Unless you're keeping a surprise party a secret, don't tell lies to cover up for someone else.

3) If your school's ethics fall by the wayside, ask yourself honestly: "Can I stick around turning a blind eye to the broken manners and still feel good about myself and my training?"
---If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, its okay to take a leave of absence or leave the school if need be. Its your training....take pride in it but don't tarnish it with bad manners or turning a blind eye to bad manners and ethics. If you're looking merely for the techniques then sure, stick around and deal with it, but you won't be studying a true "art" if you're all about the skill and looking cool and willfully ignoring the manners and ethics.

4) Remember, you are in charge of the work you put into the training. You reap what you sow.
---Your teachers have made a commitment to show you their art....you should make a commitment to doing the best you can while you're at the school. YOU do the work. You'll feel really great about it in the long run.

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Thoughout my own training, I met people who thought that "Training" meant just showing up for classes. They showed "committment" to showing up, so didn't that deserve a gold star or something? Well yes, it could mean that...*assuming the work they do is hard, dedicated, and earnest. "Sweat and hard work brings success....no one will give it to you on a silver platter", My Dad used to say.

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Teachers, its exactly the same as for the students:

1) Try to uphold your ethics even if the students don't do it themselves.
---Remember you're a guide that leads by example. Show them the importance of your school's etiquette and be sure they learn the true nature of it, instead of just having them blindly follow rules for fear of getting punished.

2) Dishonesty is not allowed.
--Do not destroy student's trust in you. (I mentioned that in my previous post). Don't manipulate the students. Remember that one lie begets another, and it will get to the point where you won't be able to keep the lies straight.

3) If your school's ethics fall by the wayside, ask yourself honestly: "Can I stick around turning a blind eye to the broken manners and still feel good about myself, my position, and my school?"
---If the students continually break protocol, you have the right to have them take a leave of absence or leave the school altogether. Its your school and your reputation......take pride in it but don't tarnish it with bad manners or turning a blind eye to bad manners and ethics. If you're looking merely for more students, more money and prestige, then sure, stick around and deal with it, but you won't be teaching a true "art" if you're all about prestige and willfully ignoring the manners and ethics.

4) Remember, you are in charge of the work you put into the training. You reap what you sow.
---Your students have made a commitment to work hard at the art....you should make a commitment to doing the best you can while you're at the school as well. Teach them well, but understand that skill alone doesn't put the label "Martial Artist" on them.

5) Leave your ego and sense of entitlement out of the picture.
--- Your position as a teacher carries many benefits as well as great burdens of responsibility. As much work as you do teaching your students, you do not own them. Don't force them to stay or threaten them if they choose to leave. They too, are individuals and good teachers will let them go if they choose, or dismiss them if they are not upholding a moral standard. Some will stay away, and some will return, and either way you should take it as a learning experience. You are an experienced guide, and good students will continue to follow you if you keep your end of the school's etiquette as well as they. To keep students via manipulation is purely ego-driven.

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I've had kids that were all "gung ho" one minute, and wanting to play on the ultimate frisbee team the next. I had a kid who wanted to play on the frisbee league, and I let him do it, saying "Wow, sounds like fun....I bet your Wushu will help that jumping for the frisbee, huh?". Then, some months later, he returned, excited about how his Wushu helped the games and he also learned new things that made his wushu much better when he returned. On the other hand, I have students who have left for other activities, school, or other life reasons. My wushu class is relatively small due to those who have chosen other paths, but "I don't own them", so no harm, no foul. If they choose to return, the door is always open.

There are two types of students when it comes to manners and etiquette....those who follow them, and those who do not.....

Which one are YOU??

2 comments:

Rick said...

"try to uphold your ethics even if ... doesn't."

The point is that you're doing it for yourself, not for someone else's approval. Polish yourself. The rest follows from there.

Frank said...

Your comments about ethics: This, to me, is what makes the warrior a warrior versus simply being a trained thug. The ultimate morality is what you do and how you act, when no one's around to see. There are many views and perspectives that I will adjust over the course of my life. My principles and ethics are not those things. Good food for thought in this blog.