|The young kid watches his instructor as he teaches class. He is the greatest, the toughest, the smartest martial arts instructor in the world, yes sir!
I wonder if the instructor fully realizes the impression he has on the young students. Most instructors are not really worried. You know, just one more kid, and besides, isnt it great to feel like God, with all that veneration! Although he knows how normal and human he really is, he gets caught up in his own ego, the result of not enough training, study or competition.
We cannot learn the martial arts through books or videos, the only way is from master to disciple. In oriental countries, this has been realized since these arts started being practiced, and special attention has always been given to this relationship. The respect to the master is total, it is understood that in order to learn, one must deliver oneself in his hands, body and soul. The disciple shows devotion, the master humility. The master has practiced for years, he knows the hard path that followed to master his art, he knows that mastery is infinite, that the greatest obstacle is oneself and therefore he is the humblest of persons. He is devoted not only to teaching the technique but also the way. He knows that the perpetuation of his art depends on the devotion of his teaching. He teaches in order to give to others what the art has given to him.
Unfortunately this ancient wisdom is often forgotten or never learned. Although our society realizes and even venerates these qualities we miss the point completely by our need to be rather than to learn.
Not that there aren't good instructors, there are, but how do we know the difference? There is a Karate school on every corner and the great majority are much more interested in the tuition fee than what they will teach. Of course martial arts are a business and a means of survival for many people. In modern ages this has to be. In order for the arts to continue they must have economic value so that the person that has dedicated years learning can survive while he passes on what he has learned. What cannot be forgotten is that in this business there is much more than money. The values in this business cannot be measured by money or trophies. It is measured by the changes brought on in the people that commit themselves to learning and teaching these arts. You the instructor, when you next see those young and innocent faces in class, remember that your attitudes and lessons will have a lasting impression on them. Remember the mission that you have in perpetuating your art, and let yourself be humbled by it!
Alex Davis was born in Brazil, he currently resides in Ft Lauderdale with his wife Adrianna and their five children 1999