Martial Arts Coach Teaches Life Lessons To Kids
I have been a martial arts instructor for 50 years now, and I have to say that my first love is the kids. Nothing makes me happier than when one of my eight-year-old pupils earns a black belt, except perhaps seeing the pride on the parents’ faces when I award it. I have been privileged to see the martial arts teaching industry mature over the decades, to the point where there are top-quality professional martial arts schools all over the country. Many of my former students have started academies of their own. From San Diego to Fredericksburg martial arts has captured the imagination of the young citizens of our great country. I became a citizen many years ago, but I feel as patriotic as if I had been born here. I hope I imbue my students with the same love for country that I feel.
Many people think that because I am old that I am also wise. This is a very dangerous thought – I know very many foolish old men (though most older women seem wise to me). They call me “Master” and bow. I laugh at such nonsense, but I do feel it is my responsibility to list just a few things I have learned over the years. Nothing very profound, but perhaps useful:
- Civility: I want my students to go beyond punches and kicks. I want them to learn how to treat each other well. They are to be respectful to their elders, but not accept the word of someone just because they are older. I show civility to all, and perhaps this sets a good example for my young charges.
- Determination: On an absolute scale, most of my students are, technically, just average. Yet I teach every one of them to strive to do their best, every day. Not just in Kung Fu, but in all aspects of life. This is our philosophy: determination, softened by grace.
- Humility: In the face of an uncertain eternity, we can only grasp our current circumstances in a spirit of humility. For everything little thing we know, there is so much we don’t. Part of humility is learning how to defuse a bully even though you know you could drop them with a single kick. Your skill is not for showing off, it is for defending yourself when you cannot walk away.
- Payment of Debt: We all accumulate debts of one kind or another as we travel through life. Never leave one unpaid. I especially emphasize this to the parents of my students: please make sure you pay your tuition on time. I prefer checks over credit cards.