Kicking News

Instructor’s Corner

Every day I step onto the mat, I do so out of a desire to pass onto others, some of the lessons that I myself have learned over the years. Even though I am a professional instructor, in that I make the major part of my living from martial arts practise, the monetary payments that students make do not in themselves motivate me to step onto the mat. I am passionate about teaching; and in truth, the fact that money changes hands has very little do with why I do what I do. I am certain this is the case for a number of martial arts teachers. So why then, do I pursue my teaching duties? What’s in it for me, the teacher?

Every day I step onto the mat, I do so out of a desire to pass onto others, some of the lessons that I myself have learned over the years. Even though I am a professional instructor, in that I make the major part of my living from martial arts practise, the monetary payments that students make do not in themselves motivate me to step onto the mat. I am passionate about teaching; and in truth, the fact that money changes hands has very little do with why I do what I do. I am certain this is the case for a number of martial arts teachers. So why then, do I pursue my teaching duties? What’s in it for me, the teacher?

I place value on what I have to offer, and in my mind, the relationship between myself and my students is anything but a business relationship; sure the students pay fees but these fees keep paying the rent, keep the lights going and put food on my table for myself and my family; the teaching, I do out of a love for doing it; out of a desire to take my students on a journey that has the potential to change their lives for the better; I teach because there are students who want to learn and the student-teacher partnership is one of high-value and mutual benefit.

The importance of loyalty goes way beyond the confines of the mat. How many relationships and marriages do we see fall apart because one or both parties are incapable of embracing the value we know as loyalty. And that is exactly what loyalty is – a value; an integral part of a moral code; a trait that defines what kind of person we are, like integrity and honour. The defining moments though, come when traits like loyalty, integrity and honour are tested, not when things are warm and cosy but when the chips are down and the situation is inconvenient or even dangerous.

Sadly, I have met many people who talk the talk, but do not walk the walk; people who proudly proclaim how honorable they are, how loyal they are, while they cannot even remain loyal to their spouses – at days end, we cannot expect such people to share the kinds of values that, in my view, we should set for ourselves and as an example to others. I have even had such people in my school – they have since departed, for greener pastures no doubt and I am so much happier for their absence. Such people are the furthest thing from the example of excellence that a real martial artist tries to set; I have long ceased to knowingly allow such people to share the circle of my life.

Sadly, I have met many people who talk the talk, but do not walk the walk; people who proudly proclaim how honorable they are, how loyal they are, while they cannot even remain loyal to their spouses – at days end, we cannot expect such people to share the kinds of values that, in my view, we should set for ourselves and as an example to others. I have even had such people in my school – they have since departed, for greener pastures no doubt and I am so much happier for their absence. Such people are the furthest thing from the example of excellence that a real martial artist tries to set; I have long ceased to knowingly allow such people to share the circle of my life.

See you in Class
Master Bartley

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