tenets1When looking at traditional martial arts there are many benefits that can be derived from them, both physically and mentally. The Do, or Way is often considered to be some sort of mental strength but it far is more than that. I guess, it can be thought of as an almost metaphysical elevation. The way can be spoken about and explained but can never be taught and most certainly can never be bought.

The way is made up of various character traits but a major piece of its pie is Integrity. You either have integrity, or you don’t. On rare occasions a major event, perhaps a great trauma or a blessing in one’s life, may trigger a life changing and spiritual revelation but this is incredibly rare. Having integrity does not happen from one day to the next. One of the characteristics of integrity is consistency and can only really be tested and proven over an extended and prolonged period of time.

mr-burns-plottingOver the many years of practicing and teaching martial arts it has become more and more evident to me that martial artists and more so, instructors, are some of the biggest culprits of lacking integrity. Most martial arts have a set of tenets that are supposed to be cultivated and strived for by students and instructors, alike. In Taekwon-Do, one of the tenets is “Integrity”. I often think that this should not be one of the tenets recited because it is hypocritical of instructors to preach it but never practice or understand it themselves. It is as though the position of perceived power scrubs away any remnant of integrity that they may have instead of reinforcing it. Everything becomes about selfish gain and manipulation of others in order to achieve their own objectives. Students are ripped off, lied to and manipulated. Fellow instructors and peers are ignored when not needed, enemies when perspectives are different and treated as friends when something is wanted. To most integrity is just another word that must be recited and spoken about in the odd class.

Perhaps hypocracy should replace the word integrity in the tenets. It will give a clearer picture as to whom and what a lot of martial artists are about these days.