Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Courtesy. It's in the black belt code (or at least the black belt code I was taught as a kid): Honesty, courtesy, integrity, self-control, perseverance, and indomitable spirit. We used to repeat those words, in that order, right before class ended when I took Kempo-fu. I'll never forget the code because of the constant repetition.

We have a sort-of new student training with us named Blake. He took Jujitsu, from what I understand, and reached orange belt in Taekwondo. Blake started training with us last week, which is why he's only 'sort-of' new.

I don't usually talk about specific people unless there is something good to say about them. There are plenty of good things to say about Blake, but one of my favorite things about him is that he is courteous. He trains intensely, never complains, helps out at every opportunity, offers constructive criticism, and is just all-around a good guy. Aside from the obvious big things, I most notice the little things that he does. He helps others up from the ground, offers to help put away equipment after class, spends extra time explaining a technique until the other person gets it, and doesn't focus completely on his own training, but also focuses on the training of others.

I'm not sure if you can teach that. I think it must come from somewhere within you; from a desire to serve others. Blake does a good job of that. Martial arts training is more than physical training. It is also a refinement of character and spirit. Sometimes it takes awhile to learn what the black belt code really means. Even though Blake is new to our multi-style hybrid martial arts training, he trains like a black belt...and it's possible to learn that kind of attitude, but I don't think it can be taught by a person. It has to come from experience; from an inner desire to be the best you can be in all the ways you can be.

I have a quote that pertains to excellence taped up on my wall, right next to where I sleep.

It says:
"To excel is to continually perform. Not for a moment or moments. Not for a day or days. But to perform continually, day after day, month after month after month...and to make the uncommon performance look commonplace.

To excel is to take the inner drive of competition and not only to embrace it, but to master it.

It is no wonder then, that when one truly excels, one is known for excellence.

It cannot be taught or legislated or willed into existence. It must come from the very depths of an individual's desire to be the best."

Blake comes to class with that spirit. I see it when I work with him. I see it when he wrestles with Sensei. I see it before class, and even after class when we're all worn out. He has that desire; the same desire I have. We work to better ourselves and to see others become better because of it. We work to know and understand excellence. And...we work to be the best we can be. For the sake of improving and growing. Because we know we can. Because we want that.

But of all the things I like about Blake, my favorite thing about him is that he is courteous. I highly respect him for that.

No comments:

Post a Comment