Service underpins every facet of what a good martial arts program should be about. The lessons you learn in the dojo should act as a canvas for how you treat people outside of the dojo. In fact, service should be part of people’s everyday lives to help create a more harmonious society.
One of the hallmarks of a good martial arts system is the number of Black Belts who continue to regularly train after they achieve that milestone. A further hallmark is how many of those Black Belts commit to further training become a fully qualified martial arts instructors.
We are blessed with a team of trainers and assisting Black Belts who unreservedly share their time and experience with the students – both adult and children. All the adult trainers are volunteers and, without speaking for them, they offer service to their fellow students and children out of their generosity of spirit.
This approach permeates down through the belt ranks with senior coloured belt students assisting new starters.
We all remember what it is like to be the ‘new person’ standing at the end of the class, not knowing what to expect. That is why we utilise the ‘buddy system’ to make that first step a little bit easier. Indeed there is a famous martial arts quote “Beginners mind”, which has many levels of meaning, but also encompasses welcoming new students.
I am truly humbled by the help and assistance afforded by all the trainers, black belts and senior students. Without that assistance, we simply could not operate and run classes and grading for the broader school population. I know that all those offering service truly love what they do as well, especially seeing the children grow and develop skills and confidence and similarly with the adult students becoming more empowered.
The approach to embedding the service ethos is fostered in the adult students with the ‘service sign-offs’. That is, you cannot progress further in the martial arts rankings without first helping others. Helping others should not just apply to your martial arts, but also to your everyday life.
And for our children, let’s practice reminding them about the importance of helping their friends, reaching out to the other child who is a bit lonely at school and doing small acts like picking up rubbish and cleaning up after meals for their parents.
See you in the dojo!