Pay attention to your thoughts, they turn into words.
Pay attention to your words, they turn into action.
Pay attention to your actions, they turn into habits.
Pay attention to your habits, they develop your character.
Pay attention to your character, it becomes your destiny.
These words written by an unknown author caused me to reflect on my most recent thoughts and this is where I found myself going.
Cause and effect. Nothing stands alone. Nothing happens without cause. Everything affects everything else. Impact as the title implies is what this is all about.
This is a little statement I made at the 2009 Winter camp’s Saturday night event:
“Each of us is born on different days and in different locations and the process called Life marches on. We all have a certain number of weeks, months or years to spend while developing on this planet.
We all spend them exploring, studying and learning. We also spend them teaching. For we are all learning from or teaching each other.
As we go about our various ways in this life, we are encouraged from time to time to pause in our journey, to look back and reflect on how far we’ve come or how short we’ve fallen in our quest. With the passage of time it is left to others to grade us or place us in the appropriate category: some successful, some not so successful.
My martial arts quest began when I entered the military in 1963. So I’ve been on this particular journey 46 years learning, teaching, exploring and dancing life and the martial ways.”
We all affect each other and every other living thing in the universe whether we like it or not. And everything in the universe is alive. Nothing happens in a vacuum since there’s no such thing as a total vacuum.
As martial arts teachers, to have martial skill is obviously essential, however, our success should be gauged by many other aspects of our lives in addition to how highly we develop those martial skills. Of course I’m speaking more of the “Do” arts here, not the “Jutsu.”
While fighting skills are more necessary than ever today, fighting skills are not nearly enough. The Roman soldier no longer exists. In this age the thinking man with a “super strong will,” will survive.
Historically we may be measured by how great an impact we had on our students. How great a skill level and degree of knowledge imparted, rather than how many followers we developed. The wise martial arts teacher must help develop wisdom in his or her students. And while you can’t make that horse drink the water you led him to, you can demonstrate commitment and follow-through, good character and a great attitude, grace, servility and leadership by the way you live, by the way you conduct your life.
The courage to live this way is, in my opinion, a by-product achieved while developing fighting skills.
Your students are watching what you do in addition to what you say…you’re having an…