my code of a martial artist

You have your own value system, code of honor, and rules for living.

what is right and wrong
what you should or shout not do
how to behave

The challenge is to follow these self-appointed rules when you’re tired, stressed, or emotional. If you are a human who interacts with others, you know that pressure and circumstances make people act in unpleasant ways.

Those are the times where self-discipline is needed. Those are the times that test our resolve and hearts.

Will you take an extra cookie when nobody is looking even when you’re on a diet?
Will you yell at someone you care about if you’re angry?
Will you lie about something you think doesn’t matter?

Ultimately, it’s a person’s choice what kind of person they want to be. I won’t judge other people because I haven’t walked in their shoes in life, I haven’t experienced their life experiences that made them what they are, I can’t feel the things they are feeling. That is part of my code as a martial artist.

What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word, “Honor?”

I just googled the word “honor” and I see a lot of American soldiers, samurai, other warrior-type characters, and cell phones. (huh?)

Can you define “honor” in words? Protection, respect, fulfill an obligation. An obligation to who? To yourself and to other people.

Pride – I feel like lately, it’s getting a negative connotation, where people think too highly of themselves and are ‘prideful.’ For me, it’s not. I have pride so I won’t stop training until I fall over. My pride won’t allow me to slack off on the assault exercise bike and let the numbers fall, even when my trainer Lorenzo walks away for a second and stops watching. I hold myself to a high standard and if I break it, I will be letting myself down and it will damage my self-esteem. Pride lets me sleep at night if I fail at something, because I KNOW I gave it 100%.

Growing up being teased, I admired super heroes who did “the right thing.” They helped others, they sacrificed something to follow some moral principle. They told the truth even if it meant hurting someone’s feelings, in order to fix a situation in the long run. They followed the rules. My teachers and parents told me, “Life isn’t always fair” like a mantra over and over again. Therefore, growing up, it was very important for me to do the “right” thing because I wanted so badly for the world to be fair. The “right” thing is often the hardest thing. I feel like the world isn’t fair because people don’t try hard enough to make it fair.

But WHAT IS THE RIGHT THING?! Sometimes it’s not so easy to know! You can only do what YOU feel is right so you can live with yourself. Sometimes two choices seem right. There are two futures right there, one down path A, one down path B. We have no way of knowing which one is ‘best,’ because we can’t see the future. Just choose.

(That’s a line from Levi from Attack on Titan.)

I also feel a very strong need to accomplish attainable goals I set for myself. For example, Friday morning I have to go to yoga class, or else my back will hurt all next week and my body won’t recover. I will absolutely go to that class unless my car breaks down. No matter if I’m tired or cranky or whatever, there is no way I’m not going to that class.

The trick for me is ignoring my mood and feelings. Those can change so easily. If someone I had a crush on suddenly texted me he was going, I would suddenly be motivated 400% to go. (not true, but just for example). Objectively look at facts.

If I let my mood dictate my actions, and I skip some unpleasant work out or homework or whatever, I’m letting myself down and failing myself. That’s my pride. Otherwise, how can I call myself a martial artist?

Our emotional control and will-power is like a muscle. It needs to be exercised and developed. When I first started fighting and dieting for fights, it was so hard and tortuous to control my eating if I was hungry or craving something. So, I got the idea to train my will-power. I used to walk into bakeries, look at and smell all the delicious breads and pastries, and then walk out without buying anything. Now it doesn’t bother me one bit seeing others eat a lot in front of me if I have to have a salad or whatnot.

I’m not trying to sound high and mighty. I’m trying to explain how I build a mental and emotional structure for myself to live in and live by. I want to know my weaknesses so I can strengthen them.

I guess one of my weaknesses is that I’m not very sharp to pick up on things people might imply. But it’s partially by choice. I don’t try too hard. It’s so easy to misunderstand or misread people. My mom always said, “Don’t be a mind-reader.” So I choose not to think something that somebody doesn’t tell me directly. If I think, “Maybe they feel or think this?” I entertain the possibility, but don’t believe it unless I have proof. I wonder if that’s good or not. Well, I don’t get into trouble at all, but I’m often finding stuff out that I hadn’t picked up or realized and then I think, “Man, I’m oblivious.”

One of my most recent accomplishments was banishing my emotions from training. I used to get frustrated if I couldn’t pick up or learn a move quickly. My brain got more and more worked up until it froze and I got REALLY upset. I started telling myself, “I’m a Jedi, I’m a Jedi, there are no need for emotions here.” As I step on the mat, I bow in respect, touch the post, and imagine leaving my feelings there stuck to the post until I’m done training. If I feel something welling up during training, I imagine it like a breeze, wafting away in the air.

[edit] Another thing is that if I notice a grammatical error in my writing, I MUST go edit it because I have my pride as an English teacher! Spelling is a whole different story… lol…