Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Most Important Martial Arts Value of All

In the martial arts, we talk about "values" a lot.

This is especially true if we teach kids, as we tend to include value education as part of the martial arts experience for kids.

Which values we emphasize varies from art to art, school to school. It might be the tenets you find in Taekwondo.  Or it might be the principles found in Japanese Bushido or Budo.  Or it may just be things you think are important to what you teach.

Wherever they come from, these values typically include things like humility, or self-discipline, or perseverance, or honor, or loyalty.  All of these are good and important for a variety of reasons.

I believe that there is one value that underscores all the rest of them.  It's the single most important value in the martial arts.

That value is courage.

The martial arts, summed up.

Courage is what makes every other martial arts value work.  Without courage, you don't have the other values - or even the opportunity to live the other values.

There are lots of people interested in what we do.  There are whole communities of fans of the martial arts and martial arts film and entertainment.

A very, very small percentage of those people actually step on a mat.

Every single one of us who acquire bruises for fun had to gather the courage to show up to a martial arts class in the first place.  Then we had to keep displaying that courage in every training session we ever attended.  This is especially true if you started up as an adult - you didn't have a mom or dad making sure you came to class!

Fear underlies the value of courage - the very definition of the word means doing something even if you are afraid to do it.  In the martial arts, these fears include the fear of failure, of looking silly or being embarrassed, of getting hurt or hurting others.

These are the fears we face every time we train.

That's why courage is the most important martial arts value.  Without courage, we can't display any of the other values, because we wouldn't be around to do it in the first place!

Think about the song the Cowardly Lion sings in the "Wizard of Oz" (1939).   He could do anything if he only had the nerve.  That is especially true for we martial artists, isn't it?

Do you agree with me that courage is the most important martial arts value?  If so, let me know about it.  If not - which single value do YOU think is the most important?  Let me know in the comments!