Word of the Month for April is: Humility
Definition of humility: a feeling or modest attitude that you have no special importance that makes you better than others; lack of pride or arrogance.
Contrary to popular belief, a humble individual is not weak, passive or insecure. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. A humble individual is quite confident and secure in him or herself and does not need to brag or prove their worth to anyone. A humble individual, even in the midst of success, would rather celebrate someone else’s results and put other people’s feelings first.
Scholar and novelist C.S. Lewis said, “a person who is truly humble, will not be thinking about humility; he will not be thinking about himself at all.”
At Bernardo Karate, we teach our students that they can still pursue excellence and be humble at the same time. “It’s okay to celebrate our accomplishments,” says Sensei Tammy Bernardo, “but it’s not okay to think we are better than everyone else. We can be strong but still maintain a humble spirit.”
As we strive to better ourselves and pursue our belts and higher degrees we must learn to do so without arrogance or boasting. “There will never be a point in our martial arts training where we will stop learning,” says Sensei Tammy. “Some people think it ends once the Black Belt is achieved. Part of being humble is accepting that learning never ends. We don’t become know-it-all’s just because a Black Belt is tied around our waist.” She also adds, “As a student of the martial arts there should always be a willingness to learn, improve and become a better student, teacher or human being.”
Two of the hardest characteristics of humility that we focus on in our martial arts training:
- Not being afraid to ask for help
- Not being afraid to admit when we make a mistake
Humble people take responsibility and are not afraid to make mistakes. They admit when they are wrong and are open to learn from the experiences of others. This is not always easy to do. We are afraid of being judged by others. These are normal feelings to have. At Bernardo Karate we want our students to know that showing humility and admitting our mistakes will ultimately shape us into better individuals. It shows we care about other people’s feelings and it helps keep us in check; it helps us better manage our strengths and weaknesses, our wins and losses, successes and failures.
At Bernardo Karate, we strive to build and provide a team of successful and accomplished Black Belt Instructors, not based on their medals or trophies or degrees, but based on their desire to share knowledge and experiences, both positive and negative, with every student they are privileged enough to teach. We want all of our students to succeed in all areas of their lives. Therefore we will continue to provide Instructors that have an eagerness to become better teachers and learn from every student above or below their rank. We would not have it any other way.
One final thought. How humbling was the first day of karate/class? How humbling was that very first karate tournament? If we do a good job as Instructors, our students will maintain that humility and bring it to every class or every competition they attend, even as Black Belts. And furthermore, if we have done a good job, our students will take what they have learned and try to make a positive difference in the lives of others outside of the dojo.