From Ed MARTIN Concepts of importance to us all; not just words! Honor, Respect, Trust, Loyalty, Friendship, Honesty, Integrity;

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Ed Martin

 

 

Let’s begin with the concept of Honor, just what does

 

this mean? Probably the most important aspect of

 

honor is that it is

a personal concept. It refers to how

well you live up to the standards you have set for

 

yourself. The evaluation must be an honest one. This

 

means, of course, that you must set standards, and in

 

fact you do even if it is by not setting standards.

By that very act you have

set your lack of standards

. I don’t believe that the concept of Honor can

stop there, because by this definition even criminals can have honor. We must

 

look at the set of standards which the individual sets for him/herself. Those

 

standards must reflect the dual life concept of Robert Humphrey. I maintain

 

that standards should support both the continuance of our human species, and

 

the life of the individual as taught by Dr. Humphrey. Standards of these types

 

can be respected by other members of the human species and so are

 

honorable. The person who holds honorable standards for him/herself and then

 

lives by them

has honor.

Again it is not someone else’s evaluation of how well you do this, that involves

 

reputation

, it is solely dependent on your own honest evaluation. It is

very important that each individual understand the absolute control they

 

exercise over this status. You must not lie to yourself, if you do there is no

 

hope for you and the only one hurt is you.

 

What is Honesty? Most of us would define it as telling the truth. That is correct

 

and yet incomplete. It is telling the truth without attempting to put a “spin” on

 

it that will change its meaning. It is telling the truth even though it makes us

 

very uncomfortable and puts us in a very embarrassing position.

Truth is not

opinion; it is fact.

Are there times when one should not “tell the truth”?

Certainly those who concealed Jewish persons from the Nazis respected a

 

higher morality when denying any knowledge during questioning. They neither

 

should or could have “told the truth” to their Nazi interrogators, without fully

 

understanding the consequences of that truth. We should always look beyond

 

the narrow view to the whole picture. To be a moral person is seldom easy, but

 

it does define us as individuals. We do what we do simply because it is the

 

right thing to do.

 

This leads us to the concept of integrity, which again becomes a very personal

 

concept. It means you will not bend your standards simply because it is to

 

your advantage to do so. Personal gain is not the primary importance for you,

 

living by your standards is. If people can count on your actions to reflect those

 

standards no matter how economically or personally attractive ignoring them

 

“just this once” would be for you, you will have integrity. This may seem a

 

harsh way to look at life, but if you do not exercise self-discipline then you

 

have no discipline. Externally imposed discipline has no lasting value. If you

 

ever hope to reach to the heights you are capable of, you must impose

 

discipline on yourself. We do create our own reality. In our Art of Ninjutsu, this

 

self-discipline is strongly emphasized, maybe not in so many words, but

 

definitely by actions. We lead by our own actions, if someone asks if we stretch

 

daily, many instructors do but the student must make that decision for

 

him/herself. Do we exercise? It is well known how much Dr. Hatsumi walks,

 

and also many instructors have their own personal exercise program. It is the

 

individual’s responsibility to make that choice. The leading is by example not

 

coercion.

 

The next concepts are all “two way streets”, trust, friendship, respect, and

 

loyalty. It is important to understand none of these can continue to exist is

 

isolation. A friend is not someone that always is there for you when you need

 

help, but someone you are there for when they need help. If someone you call

 

friend is always on your doorstep when they need your help but are nowhere

 

to be found when you need their help, that’s not a friend, that’s an exploiter!

 

Friendship carries with it the responsibility to always treat the relationship with

 

consideration, it is never abused, and it is treasured! I think this means a

 

friend will never ask something of you that violates your code of morality,

 

ethics, or sense of justice. In the same manner neither would you make such a

 

request. A real friend is far too valuable to ever take for granted or treat with

 

carelessness. A friend is always to be cared for like your most prized

 

possession, for that relationship is far more valuable than money or any

 

physical possession.

 

Trust comes into a relationship when your experience has shown that the other

 

person acts with consistency and never seeks to harm you or yours. You have

 

come to know that, within the framework of your relationship, they will always

 

be up front and honest with you. What needs to be said will be said to you

 

first! You can depend on their sense of fairness and rightness. There will never

 

be any “behind the back” character assassination, they would never stoop to

 

such actions. Obviously much of American business has not learned the value

 

of trust and only seeks personal advantage regardless of who must be stepped

 

on.

 

Respect comes as a result of what a person is and what they have done. It is

 

recognition of the value of that persons’ experience and its’ value to you.

 

Never forget that this is again a “two way street”. Each person is entitled to

 

the respect due to another living being, until such time as they act in a way to

 

remove themselves from this right. It is always interesting to note that one of

 

the quickest ways to gain respect is to return it.

 

Where does the concept of loyalty come in? I think it is based in your

 

knowledge of the person to whom you are loyal. That person has always been

 

honest with you, at least in the areas of your loyalty. Your loyalty is thereby

 

earned. Loyalty means you will never be party to the character assassination

 

others may direct at the object of your loyalty. It presumes good motives

 

rather than fearing bad ones and never will accept the worst motivation

 

without first asking and giving an opportunity for explanation. Every person

 

has habits that others may find objectionable, that’s just the nature of

 

humanity. Loyalty enables us to see beyond those habits, to the person, and

 

appreciate that person for what he/she truly is. That’s a wonderful gift of

 

understanding, acceptance, and loyalty. Loyalty must

never be misused. To

misuse it would be to prove one undeserving of loyalty.

 

A mentor, who has guided, aided, and taught, is deserving of our loyalty. We

 

must always evaluate the relationship and return what is appropriate. In Life

 

we experience what we ourselves create. There can be no avoiding the

 

consequences of our actions. We are always accountable for what we do and

 

say. A Martial Artist has the strength and will to be responsible.

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