As we look back on the wonderful achievements of our fellow students who've achieved Cho Dan we have an opportunity to see a reflection of ourselves in their accomplishment. This reflection provides insight into our own training and goals. How do they carry themselves? What characteristics do they demonstrate that we desire for ourselves? Beyond the physical ability and mental toughness they displayed at their test they also demonstrated a clear care and concern for one another.
In the Martial Arts, it is important to have humility. Students who demonstrate humility become awesome leaders and martial artists due to their unselfish manners as well as the open mindedness and attitude towards learning. Humility puts people more in touch with who they really are, makes people more genuine, more approachable, and more loveable. Sa Bom Nim often talks about taking what you learn in class and applying it outside of the dojang, and he’s not alone. Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen was recently featured in the Harvard Business Journal offering the following advice to students on leading a purposeful life:
“Remember to be humble. It’s crucial to take a sense of humility into the world. If your attitude is that only smarter people have something to teach you, your learning opportunities will be very limited. But if you have a humble eagerness to learn something from everybody, your learning opportunities will be unlimited. Generally you can be humble only if you feel really good about yourself and want to help those around you feel really good about themselves too. When we see people acting in an abusive, arrogant, or demeaning manner toward others, their behavior almost always is a symptom of their lack of self-esteem. They need to put someone else down to feel good about themselves.” (©2010 Harvard Business School Publishing, Boston, MA 02613)
Egotism disrupts harmony in the do jang. Martial arts training is at its best when students and instructors leave their egos at the door. When we train with a partner it is important that we have their best interests at heart. Our goal should not be to prove our superiority or strength but to work together for everyone’s benefit. Sparring is an example where students are reminded that it’s not whether one wins or loses, but that they work to improve their overall skills and progress. We cannot give our mind to sparring and improving our skills while we are obsessed with winning or losing.
Some people confuse humility for being weak, poor, or even simple minded. This is not the case at all. It takes more mental strength and power to show humility than to be a boast of your own accomplishments.
Questions to think about before you write your essay on Kyum Son when you reach 1st Gup Red Belt:
- What does the word humility mean?
- Do I have humility?
- Can I develop humility?
- How do you develop humility?
- What does humility look like in me or in others?
- Can I encourage the development of humility in others?
- What does humility look like in martial arts?
- What is humility not?