Saturday, June 08, 2013
The Gratitude Attitude
I love it not for the fact that it maligns French people's lack of manners toward waiters (although apparently there is that), I like it because it shows an effort to encourage civility between people. Because the savings is small, it shows that with only a little effort we can start to change how people treat one another. Small actions can have big consequences.
Martial Arts is about RESPECT. Respect not only for your training partners, for your teachers, for the dojo, but also, and perhaps most importantly - respect for yourself.
This modern world has many challenges and pitfalls. Among them are the pervasiveness of connectivity, which can dehumanize us and cause us to lose our human interaction and social skills. Overcrowded cities and trains can make us impersonal and cold toward one another and make us forget our inherent human compassion. Going to the dojo reawakens us to the importance of human contact in our daily lives.
In a good school you are valued as a student or a teacher. Your are valued for your commitment to train hard when you are in class, and for your commitment to be an ethical human being when you are outside of class. Your are valued and respected for the unique role you play in the relationship fabric of the school community, and for your commitment to self-improvement (but not at the expense of others, of course).
This is most especially important for women, since girls in many cultures around the world are raised without a strong sense of identity and self-worth. Martial arts training is a powerful key to self discovery, through which these girls become capable adults, ready to challenge themselves to do their best in whatever life path they choose. I have met many women in martial arts, and those who persevere share this common trait of self-respect and dignity. Even more importantly, I have seen martial arts "magically" transform women from scared little girls into vibrant, passionate people who radiate positive beauty. In our schools, many of the men and women of our "inner circle" even become vegetarians/vegans as part of their compassionate world view and respect for their own physical/mental/spiritual health.
My mama used to tell me "manners don't cost extra". In fact, sometimes they can even save you money. :-)