I’ve hesitated writing on this particular subject for a long, long time. But today my oldest student shook me as no other person can. He reminded me of why I teach.
An open letter to my students.
Too many, far too many lose sight of why I continue to train in the martial arts. Especially after reading the ending of my book “Stepping Off the Mat.” So what do I get from all this training and practicing?
It’s simply this:I’m teaching you, my student, how to live. The traditional educational institution is structured and designed to do one thing and one thing only; to teach you how to make a living! Not how to think and not how to be a good citizen. Just how to make a living.
I’ve been working out how to shape your minds, teaching you how to think properly and how to reason by giving you examples of strategic thinking under the guise of martial arts and self-defense strategies. If you remember, I’ve said it’s not so important what you think as how you think. Small minds get bent out of shape over small problems. Mitch Gilbert once said, “small minds talk about people, average minds talk about events and great minds talk about ideas.”
Some have commented on my style of dress and the way I always keep my shoes highly shined and the way I conduct myself. Well, it’s a way of living. I’m making a statement without saying a word. My actions and appearance speak volumes for me. I just go about my business.
And while I on that thought of dress, consider this: Do you ever wonder why the youth of this country dresses the way they do? Do you wonder why they have little or no respect for each other or for that matter none for you either? (when I say you, I mean adults) It may be because of this: We have lost respect around the world because of the decisions we’ve made. Look at the politicians we’ve picked to run the local, state and federal governments for the past twenty or thirty years. All they seem to care about is getting reelected and nothing about doing what’s right. The young have picked up on this and solve their problems the same way they see adults and governments do. By simply taking, fighting or stealing for it. There is another way. A much better way. I practice Martial discipline! It’s really not about fighting.
I make every effort to demonstrate the capacity of reason and civility by how I live my life. And some examples are (1) Do no harm. (2) Whenever possible, give advantage to the other guy. (3) Clean up after yourself by leaving no track. (4) Smile whenever possible. (5) Correct a child when you see him or her operating incorrectly. (6) Allow all children to see you in a positive light while doing the things you do. (7) Don’t cheat. (8) When you make a mistake, admit it. (9) Have the courage to say I’m sorry. (10) No matter your religion, practice the golden rule, treat others the way you wish to be treated.
Do you have other ideas or concepts? If so please share them.