On Saturday morning, as I was arriving at the martial arts studio, I saw that there was a homeless person sitting just outside the front door, surrounded by his bicycle, a small trailer, and what must have been all of his belongings. It was pretty chilly out, so I can understand the need to find a place where the wind was just a little less intense and where one could create a makeshift shelter. I was not upset that this man had decided to camp outside my place, but rather I found myself asking what I would do if I was in his position. Where would I sleep? How would I stay warm? I doubt there’s an easy answer when you have no choice but to do the best with what you have.
As I approached the front door, I greeted him with a smile and a “good morning”, and he returned the same. He apologized for not realizing that it was getting late in the morning and that he would be moving along. I thanked him and wished him well. Though our interaction was short, it was positive, and though there was nothing I could do for him at that moment, I could treat him with kindness and courtesy as this is what I teach in my classroom, and this is what I want to represent.
Here’s the lesson that I took from this:
KINDNESS IS A CHOICE
Simple as that, you can choose to be kind in your interactions … or choose not to. It’s up to you, but remember, leading by example means that you teach others through your own actions. If you want people to treat you nicely, treat them nicely. If you want to teach others to be kind, demonstrate kindness.
Here’s another important lesson that goes hand-in-hand:
INTEGRITY IS ALWAYS DOING WHAT YOU KNOW IS RIGHT, EVEN WHEN NO ONE’S LOOKING
No one else was there. No one was watching to see how I’d react. I chose to be kind because that’s what I want to represent, even when no one’s looking. Am I always kind? No, even I have my moments. But I try consciously to be a better version of myself than I was yesterday. I try to choose my responses wisely. I try to be the person that I want to teach my daughter to be.
As a member of the Ultimate Black Belt Test 2018, I am dedicated to improving myself and the martial arts I teach by passing on the lessons I'm continuously leaning through the process. I am committed to adding to the work of my mentor and UBBT creator and coach, Tom Callos, by expanding on what martial arts can represent in our studio and in our community. If you'd like to know more about the Ultimate Black Belt test or the work of Tom Callos, please feel free to visit the sites linked above!