Since 1976

What are we Modeling?

If you are like me, you're on Facebook and other social media at least occasionally. I usually just skip all the video ads and those questionaires that try to capture your demographics, and stop to read stuff about my family and, sometimes, things that my martial arts friends post. Lately I've noticed the vitriol that lots of folks are spouting (and I'm not just talking about politics). People will put up videos or links to other martial artists and then proceed to tear them down.

Isn't one of the supposed characteristics of martial arts teachers humility? Aren't we supposed to tell our students that if they don't succeed at first (be it a belt test or a tournament match) that they are to try harder the next time? Shouldn't we attempt to encourage others, especially those in our own organization?

So to post a video of another school and then proceed to let everyone within earshot (eyeshot on the internet) that they aren't as good as WE are … well, is that humility? When we say that someone else isn't worth a certain rank because they haven't been in the arts as long as WE have … is that showing their lack or ours?

How about putting a video of our own student's tournament matches online and then point out how they got cheated? Not only are we NOT encouraging our students to learn from their mistakes with grace, we are publicly telling the other kid who won that they only did so because of the judges' prejudice.

Why do people say things online that they would never say to someone else's face? Maybe you are the one who says, "I'm just telling it like it is!" But we teach our students to stand up to bullies and to never be one ourselves. So how in the world can we justify being online bullies?

So ask yourself before you next post: Am I being helpful or critical? Am I showing empathy or negativity? Civility in all our relationships is a goal for us as martial artists and I would expect that, as teachers, we model that civil behavior in person and online.