Before every class, seminar or tournament, we would recite those words as well as Perseverance and Indomitable Spirit. Important words but not germane to this blog. At a large tournament there might be hundreds of voices saying our Taekwondo Tenants in unison.
I thought they were powerful words and principals then. I still do.
I taught character development and leadership classes. I broke down what the meaning of those words were, we talked about what the action of the word looked like in real life. Here are some of the synonyms we came up with. Indulge me and take a few minutes and do your own list.
Courtesy: Kindness. Helpfulness. Respect.
Integrity: Honesty. Decency. Fairness. Honor.
(Do the right thing, even if no one is watching)
Self Control: Impulse Control. Self restraint. Anger Management.
(Control your words, your emotions, and your body)
Character Development is one of the primary reasons parents enroll their kids in martial arts classes. Yes, we want them to learn how to defend themselves, and we know that strength, hand eye coordination and flexibility are good physical building blocks. But physical prowess and skill without character and leadership qualities is downright dangerous. Not just for kids, but for adults.
I have returned money and declined to teach children and adults who I felt would not comply with the principles I taught. I felt they would be a danger to themselves and others, and that I had a moral responsibility to do the right thing, as I defined it.
Now before you start pointing fingers and saying “but you did …( insert the crime)” Yes, I admit to not complying with my own teachings. I admit to failing, over and over in many ways. Because I will readily admit that I am not perfect. No one is. But I’ve also admitted it, and when possible made amends.
While I owned a martial arts school I took my leadership role very seriously. How can you lead with integrity except through example? In public and in private
How can you expect your child to learn about the how and why of behavior and morals if you do not demonstrate those characteristics yourself?
Hypocrisy: the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense.
Let’s talk about the deficit side of those character traits. Care to come up with your own? You can google it.
The opposite of Courtesy?
Rudeness. Contempt. Vulgarity. Making fun of.
The opposite of Integrity?
Dishonest. Deception. Corruption. Lying.
And the opposite of Self Control?
Rage. Greed. Lack of restraint.
If you brought your child, or enrolled yourself in my school, I hope you would see kindness. Respect. Fairness. Decency. From myself and my staff. A culture that you felt was positive and worthwhile.
If you saw a culture of rudeness, contempt, lying, greed and rage? I hope you would run as fast as you could. Even if the teachers were the greatest technical martial artists in the world, and could teach you unbelievable stuff, I would hope you would run. Because disregarding character to obtain a goal is hypocrisy, a type of prostitution in my opinion.
I’m not going to talk about religion here except to say this. There are universal standards of morals and character in all spiritual practices. Even those that do not believe in a higher power (atheists) have a code of conduct, a belief in right and wrong. These character traits are covered under the Ten Commandments.
If you know me, you know how I feel about Trump.
This is why. This belief, perhaps naive but from deep within me, that a leader should demonstrate character. That putting a few dollars more into my bank account or watching the stock market increase is not a reason to accept this man who daily demonstrates all the worse characteristics that a human can show.
I watch him, hear him, read him. This is not the media influence me. This is straight from his mean little mouth or his tweeting fingers.
I see and feel the pain and rage in our country. Friends turning against friends, families hurt and separated. Because at some point when do we acknowledge that character is important? When do we hold him to the same standard that we would hold a school teacher, martial arts instructor, coach, employee?
Take a week worth of his tweets. List them. Note the name calling. Contempt. Lies.
Then tell me if you would want that individual teaching your children.
I am disgusted down to my very core.
If this post offends you, tell me why. I’ll give you the courtesy and respect of listening.