In response to this comment:
Can't believe you actually think it's their job or responsibility to teach anyone to be a better human being.
Mireille . . . . wrote back the following letter. We have discussed this subject a number of times in the past and I thought this letter summed up my feelings 100%. I received Mireille's permission to reprint her letter, which was originally posted to the CyberDojo list. By the way, I deleted last name in case Mireille would prefer to remain anonymous. GEM
I have spent the past 30 years of my life teaching others how to be better human beings through my personal efforts to live as a better human being myself. ( As a mother, and teacher.)
We MIRROR to others what we desire to see in the world. Even now, as I type out this email I am revealing to you the "WHO" that I am, and what I believe in. It is my hope that you will see something admirable in my words, attitudes, and actions. By witnessing the virtues, and goodness of others, we recognize what is good in ourselves, and we are attracted to the thought that perhaps we could achieve even more.
We live in a community of people on this earth. Even the most recluse person has to interact with someone once in awhile. We can show forth positive behavior which builds up the world around us, and our own interior spirit, or we can put forth negative behavior that hurts not only others, but ourselves.
In the art of karate, we have a responsibility to help each other strive to strengthen the mind, spirit, AND also the body. Just doing push ups to make our arms strong is not karate-do... any person can make their arms stronger through exercise.. however, being able to face your physical weakness, find some inner core of strength, and push yourself to do ONE more push up, or to have the humble feeling of being unable to get up one more time while your Sempai is doing another 20 push ups next to you this helps form the "better" person inside you.
Nakayama Sensei said "Karate-do is a martial art for the development of character through training, so that the karateka can surmount any obstacle, tangible or intangible."
I believe that too many dojo/Sensei today are not accepting the challenge of meeting the responsibility of forming their students on the inside as much as on the outside. If the importance of training is placed only on winning tournaments, and being the best fighter then they are short-changing their students to the reality of what can really be achieved through the personal growth of facing hardship, and still perservering. Not that winning tournaments is a bad thing.. but I feel that challenging the student to go beyond their mental comfort zones is MORE important. Helping the students to learn that self-defense is far more than learning how to punch, and kick at the proper timing, and strength.. but that self-defense is also a mental attitude, and demeanor involving your whole viewpoint, and daily behaviour.