To follow up on the Integrity In The Martial Arts post, I want to discuss deeper the trend of instructors who are diluted either by a simplistic mind, or a combination of the misleadings of an instructor before. These instructors will self promote, identify with the best, but look nothing like the best and will avoid competitions with the best because they cannot compare to the best. As the adage goes, “How can you spot a fake? Hold it next to the real thing.” They stay clear from the real thing. Yet they will tell you over and over again that they are legitimate, that somehow they are better. They will claim certification, yet have no proof. If supplying proof, it is fake. Then to perpetuate these lies to their students who trust them and only know as much as they are taught. Did you know you can look up your instructor’s record? You can see if your instructor is really the rank they claim? You can also look up the rank they claim you are paying such a hefty price for…
For over twenty years now, I have come to the understanding and have taught my students to know more than you are taught. Yes, I want them to trust me and follow my instructions. However, I want them to take responsibility for what they apply to their lives, to their knowledge and to their path. I do not want them to be dependent on me for everything, I want them to be leaders and, trusting that they can make decisions and come to me for advice and support. As their instructor, it is not my job to control them, to micromanage them and run their training where they wait for every word and move. No, I lead in step, as a guide, sometimes walking beside them, sometimes hand over hand, sometimes in demonstration, mirroring. But you have to let them try on their own, give them direction and let them try again. Always in humility. Likewise, if you cannot be humble about your rank, then what are you to your students?
Perhaps though, you are not lying, you are testing, and you are going to high level competitions, performing well and your students rank high in their divisions. But, for some reason or another, when you search your black belt, it doesn’t come up? How strange is this? The certificate you were given and that you give your students somehow are forgeries? How upsetting this could be, and all you can offer your students is, well, at least we know our worth. Do you start over and find a program to help you out, or do you continue the facade? Do you face the music, or continue the lie? Pride or humility? This is what it comes down to. The strong will and personalities of the martial arts often side with continuing the lie rather than facing the truth and rather difficult road of working hard and catching their rank up. There has to be a quick and easy way, right? While so many are searching for this easy way to catch up, beginners are getting their first, second and third degree black belts, even fourth degree black belts legitimately. And those who were lied to, are left with no accreditation at all. Martial arts is hard work, sometimes this work repeats itself. Life isn’t fair, sometimes you lose and we, as instructors need to demonstrate to our students how to conduct ourselves when life isn’t fair and when we lose. For those lied to, get up, work hard and earn it again! For those lying, stop, teach your students integrity, teach your students that it’s worth giving it your all, that a job worth doing, is worth do well! Don’t be lazy! Don’t be selfish! Give your students everything, even if they choose not to go for it, at least you gave them the chance! Open the doors of success for your students!