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Martial artists are no more likely to be good role models than a chef, a baker or any other artisan …
It’s the individual that may or may not choose to live and ethically and morally upright life - sometimes that particular kind of person is a chef, sometimes a carpenter … and every now and then, a martial artist.
As martial arts coaches - as is the case of teachers of all sorts - we do have an opportunity to present ourselves as good role-models for others; but this should never be assumed. I have seen some extraordinarily bad behaviour from some very prominent martial artists. As a consequence, I now have zero expectations on that front.
In my own Academy, I choose to avail myself of the unique opportunity that I have; the opportunity to influence others positively and in a way that, might just result in some of my students living more positive, joyful and fulfilling lives. I try never to preach one thing - and yet do another; I try to be congruent with what I say and how I live my own life - after all, if I believe my advice to be ‘good advice’ then I should always take it myself.
Every now and then though, we find excellent human beings who also happen to be great martial artists. These are my kind of people. Here is such a man, the excellent Gil Melendez - with my boy Felix in San Francisco last week.