Thursday, September 10, 2009

Courtesy in Martial Arts and Life

When restraint and courtesy are added to strength, the latter becomes irresistible- Mohandas Gandhi

What is courtesy and why is it necessary?

The dictionary definition of courtesy is: excellence of manners or social conduct; polite behavior. Within the context of the martial arts courtesy plays an integral role in our journey through our respective paths. Courtesy dictates how we interact with each other, inside and out of the dojo. Intertwined with courtesy is respect, for ourselves and for others.

When we bow to each other, we are not being subservient, but rather we are extending courtesy to our fellow students. When we train, and train hard, we never forget that the rules of courtesy dictate that we place others before ourselves. This translates as being aware of your fellow students well being, state of mind, and overall energy in the class. It also means being concious of the rank of the seniors and extend them the courtesy their rank dictates, just as it will be shown to you when you achieve the same rank.

Real courtesy carries with it the implication of modesty and sincerity as well as mere politeness. It permits equals to show mutual respect while simultaneously accepting that each of us, in one way or another, is subject to a higher authority. Children should always be courteous to their parents and elders, students to teachers, employees to employers, etc., and those who hold positions of authority must demonstrate that they are deserving of respect by being courteous to those over whom they have authority.

Courtesy is demonstrated throughout the martial arts world when we greet each other through the sincere act of bowing. Yet, there are many other ways that courtesy is demonstrated in the martial arts and your life. Being polite and showing good manners, saying nice things to people you go to school with, meet during the day in the community or live with, are just a few ways you can show courtesy.

One of the most important ways to show courtesy in your life is through tact, which means not using , insults or ridicule to embarrass or hurt others. This may seem difficult when you may be hurt or embarrassed by the treatment of others, but it is important that you act with courtesy and tact regardless of how others behave towards you. By remaining above the negative behavior of others you will be building your self-esteem and others will value your integrity.

Show courtesy by being kind and considerate of others and expressing gratitude for the things people do for you, no matter how "insignificant" it may seem. Remember to say “thank you” when a person is kind to you. Remember that you create a better space in the world, by being generous and giving others credit for the kind things they do and letting them know you consider them valuable in your life.

strong spirit-strong mind-strong body

Sensei Orlando

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