Words from Sabumnim
THE SPIRIT OF THE TRUE MARTIAL ARTIST
In the WMAC Beginner’s Handbook on page 130, there is a list of the ranking progression of belt colors and correlating lessons. The first one is “respect.” Every beginner starts their martial arts journey learning new ways of being respectful, and respecting not only others, but also the self and life in a deeper way. If the student develops a solid foundation with this first lesson, they will continue to learn the lessons of respect in even deeper ways and in all other aspects of their life. As the student’s understanding of respect widens, they will develop a higher respect of their time and of other people’s time. They will develop much more respect of their word and the words of others. They will develop a higher respect of their personal property and the personal property of others. They will develop a deeper respect for their personal wishes and goals, and they will also develop a deeper respect for the personal wishes and goals of others. Just as a student’s physical skills and understanding will grow with proper practice and time, so will the wise student’s embodiment of culture, courtesy, and respect grow with practice and time. The student that embodies the culture, the courtesy, and the respect that separates the high martial arts practitioners from the low martial arts practitioners, earn and gain 360 degrees of respect from their martial arts community. They earn the respect of those above them, they gain the respect of those below them, and they are always respected by their peers. Others are always willing to work and train with them. Instructors and Masters look forward to teaching them. The student then develops a sense of belonging, a sense of feeling at home, and a sense of peace that makes learning easy and makes growing seamless and painless.
However, all students do not have the same experience, mostly because they either never truly learn the first lesson (respect) or they stop continuing to learn. Some beginners will learn a basic skill like a front kick or a basic defense, and then they feel that they know it all, and therefore, don’t have to learn any more about it. Many beginners learn how to bow and say “yes sir” or “yes ma’am”, and go on with the belief that they know all there is to know about respect, and stop their learning from that moment on. Because of this one single error, their martial arts journey takes a very different path. As time goes by, they may still learn many of the physical skills. However, they will be totally unaware of how underdeveloped their skills truly are because of the missing development and practice of the core principles of high martial arts. These principles are universal and are known as: Mu Sa Do (Korea), Bushido (Japan), Wu Shi Dao (China), Mon Tu (Ancient Kemet), Kalaripayatlu (India), Taiaha (Maori), Ma At Ancient Kingdom of Ghana and Okichiaw (Native American). They are all based on respect harmony and the natural order of life. They all translate into “martial-spirit-way”- martial arts in alignment with the great spirit, or warrior’s spirit of the great way. These warrior practices were, and still are all based on a code of honor that states the code is more important than the self.
Martial arts amounts to nothing more than fighting when it becomes separated from the principles of Musado. Even the greatest of fighters are little more than animals when they lack a culture of courtesy and respect. Sometimes they become even worse than animals. History is full of powerful people, families, organizations, countries, and empires that have crumbled because they lacked a moral culture that was based on courtesy and respect. Respect is closely linked to justice, it is synonymous with balance. Wherever there is much disrespect, or a lack of respect, there is also an imbalance of justice. The universe (the Do) is just, and always recalibrates to restore balance and justice. Therefore, if we continue to practice and improve on our respect, we also practice justice, and we support more balance within our communities and within our self. Don’t be fooled by slick marketing and fake claims. Don’t be blinded by fame, titles, and flashy displays of power.
If it’s not in harmony with the deeper practice of high martial arts, then it is empty and meaningless. It is who you are, and who you are becoming that is most important and significant in the big picture. These two things play a major role in what you bring into your life and into the world. A tree can be judged by the kind of fruit it produces. People are not much different. Those who bring sweetness into the world are usually sweet people; those who bring sour, bitter, or rottenness into the world usually have the character to match it. As practitioners of high martial arts, our first lesson is also the last lesson, and it’s connected to every other lesson along our journey. Don’t be upset if you stumble and fall along the way. It is all part of the learning process. It is human to err. Just remember, when that happens - clean it up and get back up. Always do your best to stay up. Mudo.
Below are a few examples of what martial arts turns into without a culture of courtesy and respect. Here are some schools and teachers that don’t even have bowing in their schools. Please keep in mind that even though four out of the five examples are from Brazilian Jujitsu schools, there are still many great jujitsu schools and masters with high moral standards.
Students rape student
Instructor of two rapists also raped in the past.
Instructor beaten and raped for raping and killing 1 year old child.
Texas Instructor rapes 14 year old
Brazilian Jujitsu Gang assault