As the month of April has arrived, we look forward to the beginning of Spring (especially considering the very indecisive New England weather that most of us have come to expect). We also welcome a new word of the month: HUMILITY.
One key aspect of Humility concerns putting the needs of others ahead of your own. This is especially important when we consider the fact that many others are more in need of assistance than we are. The well-seasoned Martial Artist is very strong (both mentally and physically), and they should always desire to share their strength with those who need it. At the Independent Karate School, we express this in many ways, through our volunteering efforts as well as our willingness to work with students of all ages, ranks or skill levels.
Our founders held Humility in very high regard. Hanshi Nastasia often closed all Black Belt tests with the reminder that “..the black belt is to be worn with Humility… NOT Authority”. In the same vein, many black belts still recall O-Sensei Desmarais reminding us, on several occasions, that "No one stands so tall as when they kneel to help a child". We have a great deal of material in our Kenpo curriculum, and when pressed with the question of which piece of material is the hardest, some Black Belts will respond with ‘teaching 1 Pinion to a new student’. This often requires instructors getting down to the new student’s level and working with them on a different plane…outside of their comfort zone. Humility truly does enable all of us to share our strength and honor our founders in the process.