There are those today teaching martial arts who do so for the love of the art, to help kids not be bullied, and even to assist women’s awareness groups. There are others who thrive on competition. They spend hours with their portages, honing every technique, movement, flip or turn. And, in each there is a devotion to something greater than themselves.

Then, there are those whose interests are self-directed. They are those who let everyone know how great they are. Those who must be the focal point of any celebrity martial artist they meet, or have the benefit of learning from. They achieve great success when under the direct supervision of others. But their numbers dwindle when the truth of their martial prowess is realized.

Which of these two are you desirous of becoming? Because your answer will be known by all the moment you present yourself upon the mat. The skill, or lack thereof, will be evident to the beginner as well as the master. The difference is in what others will tell you of what they see.

An old teaching method from the 1970’s era is to lead your student to the point where they will be testing for Black Belt. Only then to tell the student the story of one instructor who represented himself to be something he was not, a second instructor who labored all his days to become something the ‘right way,’ and still a third who merely claimed what he was not to ever possess. Whatever the student’s answer as to which was the correct method of training, and which their instructor chose, the Instructor would choose one of the less honorable to claim as his heritage. When doing so, he would swear his student to secrecy of the “dishonorable” deed.

The student would then either tell others, or not. He would test for the Black Belt claiming it for what it was, or was not. Only the Instructor would know… and those to which the disclosure was made. Some students would leave his tutelage. Not claiming the prize. Other claimed the Black Belt, then sought new masters with a lie upon their waist. A very few would go to the instructor before-hand asking; “Teacher, I do not believe that person to be you. For all that I have learned, the truth cannot be dissuaded.”

If you are as the last of these Students, Instructors, or even Masters… Then you are able to claim the ASMKA as your home. You need not justify why, or when, or even how. For the truth is indeed found on the mat. Thereafter, in all that you bring of that knowledge to those you meet in life. We build Masters who live what they teach. Those who seek a lesser standard will still be trying to “lead” from their place at the end of the line.

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