Being a Role Model for Others to Follow
by KJN James R. Hogwood, PhD.
The martial arts is a lot more than what you see at demonstrations and on television. It is like the tip of the iceberg. What you see on the surface is only about 10% of the mass that is hidden under the water.
Anyone who has ever been a Boy Scout or Girl Scout can tell you that their Scout Master was truly an inspiration to their development and life journey. When asked the question “Who had the most influence in your life?”, most people will say either a teacher, a priest, a coach, or their parents. All of these answers are excellent examples, and they all have one thing in common, they are developers of people not things.
It is said that managers deal well with things and leaders deal well with people. As a 25-year law enforcement veteran, I have dealt with both types of people. It is true that we need resources to get the job done, and that we must respect the managers that provide these materials for us. However, once equipped, we need leaders to develop us both physically and mentally.
The martial arts is a paramilitary organization, based on the principles of leadership and command structure, there are school and organizational rules that govern the teachers and students along their journey.
Let’s first look at leadership, the teacher demonstrates the techniques, then observes the student execute them, and finally develops them into muscle memory. At the same time the teacher is always the first one to the school and the last one to leave. The teacher has his or her uniform clean and presentable and most importantly recognizes the students by name and thanks them every time for coming. A leader is always quick to applaud the students advances, and considerate when correcting.
Command structure, just like the military there are ranks among the school. White Belt through Black Belt, and First Degree through Ninth Degree in the organizational charts. The Head Instructor is normally the highest degree within that local school. However, he or she knows that there is always something new to learn. The reason for this structure is to develop people to become future leaders within our society. Example, to respect those above us while helping those below us to improve daily. This type of leadership is known as mentoring. Be a positive mentor means that you must first be humble before you can be accomplished.
With school and organizational rules, the students learn to follow regulations in the same manner as local and federal laws. Developing their minds to follow laws helps them to avoid others that take liberties at other’s expense and are all too often the opposite of good role models. It is the martial way to provide sound leadership, direction and integrity that develops young men and women into future leaders within our communities, and this cannot be achieved without guidelines and a positive environment for them to experience away from drugs, gangs, and peer pressure that will all too often lead to self-destruction and personal failure.
With all this said, if the school is a traditional school and the instructor was brought up within a traditional system, you will feel that the environment is positively charged, and the current students are excited, respectful, kind, friendly, and most importantly engaged or hanging from every word coming from their mentor’s mouth. The school will be clean and in order because the students will have assigned chores before every class to help reinforce discipline. Their parents will be happy with the progress of the students because the behavior will transfer to all aspects of their lives, school, home, and other sports.
So, a well-disciplined teacher with integrity, structure, and passion, will teach you knowledge, develop your skills and give you the desire to succeed in all endeavors of life. Remember that the greatest quality of a person is character, and character is what we do when no one is watching.
KJN James Hogwood, PhD. Vice President of the USA Hapkido Union
The National Self-Defense Agency, Inc 501c3
Ph: (423) 505-0525
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