Saturday, September 5, 2009

Reigi Omonzubeshi - Respect and Manners

The following is an excerpt of a Shaolin Yangshen Fa presentation about Etiquette :

" a Teacher/Master only qualifies through his personal behaviour and the quality of his students and not through titles and honours which are not substantially reflecting his relationship with the practitioners".

Three weeks ago at the Panama City Tournament, I had to ask a "Karate Master" - who arbors 8 golden stripes on the edge of his black belt to make sure everyone knows how advanced he is - to get out of the ring where I was judging a fight.

Against usual rules of courtesy, this self proclaimed master, who disagreed with the way the fighting was being handled, had stepped into the ring to tell me how the two other referees and myself should be judging.

To be honest, I must say that the way he addressed me and the younger referees who were assisting me made my blood pressure raise maybe a little quickly. And I probably could have been more diplomatic in the way I asked him to leave the ring. (But wait a minute, he did not belong there anyway, and this was MY ring !)

Sometimes, I wish I would be more patient...

Respect has to be owned through behavior. I do not care, and no one should care about how many stripes one harbors on his belt. We all have been beginners, 10, 20, 40 years ago, we did most of the mistakes the beginners do today (And sometimes still do them after all these years ...)

The reason we outrank someone is usually that we have been practicing longer. Does it make us a better person ? I do not think so. We have shown dedication for years and years, and it is not a small thing. But any beginner has the potential to last as long or even longer than we did, achieve more than we did, and give back more than we did.

Out of the next 1000 beginners I meet, probably less than 5 will still be here 20 years down the road, but I do not know who they are. And so I should respect each and everyone of them in the way they are expected to respect me.

This is not the end of this story, one day I'll speak to you about apologies ...

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