Pledge Number One
I shall Respect my instructor and all senior ranks.
I shall respect all senior ranks? I think one of the funniest moments created through the use of this pledge is when a child earns a rank above that of their parents. It is at that time, for a moment, they feel and may even act like the leader. It is also at that time which they begin to learn that no respect is truly respect when ordered, demanded or completely black or white. The grey areas and the concept of general decency take hold. I shall respect senior ranks means to accept help from those who may know what you need to know….not always who you think it will be.
I shall respect my instructor is where the martial artist begins to learn the art of conflict resolution, peaceful conversation, useful argument and earned respect. Everyone asks for respect in one way or another. In martial arts training we build on that as a initial focus rather than an afterthought. Considering our own emotions and those of others becomes part of our training and can often de-escalate a situation long before we need to use force to protect ourselves.
It really simplifies to respecting everyone and not over reacting when you feel disrespected. Taking a step back and learning to better understand and then to resolve makes the process of learning to respect others critical.
Pledge Number Two
I shall conduct myself in a respectful manner.
How about doing what we are told the first time we are told and not talking back? Sound good? This pledge is one of instant accountability as well as reward. I shall conduct myself in a respectful manner simply means BE NICE!
What else? I shall not talk over someone else. I shall not talk back to Mom and Dad. I shall listen when spoken to. I shall eat with my mouth shut. I shall learn what is expected of me and do it BEFORE I am told. None of these are pledges. None of these are necessarily used every time we discuss our behavior but they are a great example of what our Mom’s and Dad’s once taught us. Now we are teaching our kids how to behave in a respectful manner.
Got behavior problems at home or just need a little help reminding them? I believe that our focus on this pledge shall be the perfect place to start. They will be asked to learn how and to demonstrate respectful behavior in classes and they will even be challenges to take the lessons learn home and practice there as well.
Pledge Number 3
I shall respect the teaching of Kyuki-Do and never misuse them.
We are learning to kick and punch not so that we can kick an punch but to be so strong, so confident, that we don’t need to.
The best part of Kyuki-Do Martial Arts is that it really works. I shall never misuse my martial arts training, but if I need it, the mixed martial art style we teach is completely applicable in real life. Once you reach black belt in AKF Lexington Martial Arts you will have a “tool bag” of useful and even lifesaving knowledge.
One of the most common concerns I hear from parents is, are the kids going to come home and hurt someone with what they learn. This pledge is specifically to point out our opinion on that. I shall respect and never misuse means you will ONLY use what you learn in times of critical need and self-defense. We spend a lot of time helping them understand but it starts with a simple baseline expectation: If you can leave or avoid a fight you must. The complexity that comes later is much easier to understand if we learn this first rule FIRST.
Pledge Number 4
I shall always respect the rights of others.
My goodness, the world needs more of this one. As we work on all the pledges, this one eagerly accepts the help of every other pledge.
Current Human nature lends itself to instant gratification and over generalization. Learning to assess situations and keep an open mind even while under stress is a valuable skill. As long as we continue to work toward understanding we can help each other respect and empathize better. In doing this we will understand how to treat others better and this spread positivity rather than negativity in the world.
Pledge Number 5
I shall strive for peace and camaraderie in the world.
World Peace – Once a popular line by pageant contestants then kind of scoffed at and now I think many have simply just forgot that in reality if we strive for it we may not get it but the result will be better than the alternative.
If we act on all the other pledges and we respect ourselves as well as others peace and friendship alike are possible. We don’t have to like everyone. We don’t have to agree with everyone. We don’t even have to appreciate everyone. We do have to treat and be treated with respect.
With respect and self-control our training and thus our behavior will be the start of something beautiful. First just in our own little world, but if we all do it, each of our little worlds start to overlap. This overlap slowly pushes out the hate and replaces it with peace and camaraderie.