That’s a really slick phrase. I’m pretty good with words but unfortunately I didn’t coin that one. wish I had. It so illustrates the lesson I try so hard to teach. There’s a scripture in the bible that says. “let the husbandman be first partaker of the fruits. That phrase can be taken in two ways. It can say that the one who does the work should have first pick of the rewards. But the meaning that I want to allude to here is that we should be the first example of what we teach.
I’ve been trying to introduce several things into the BDFS and BLMAA organizations. One, an anti bullying program, we’ve been pretty successful with thanks to the efforts of G.M. Jay Blanton and G.M. Larry McFadden, both valued brothers and friends. The second program we’ve had limited success with. That’s our efforts to include competition, namely through karate and jujutsu tournaments. The last I have yet to see come into fruition and much as I’ve tried to push it and delegate responsibility of it’s inception. That would be a mentoring program.
My mentor in ministry and one of my early teachers was the bishop of our denomination. He told me and other young ministers that we teach by precept and example. In that particular instance the word of God was the precept. We on the other hand would have to be the example. Many people wouldn’t darken the doors of a church. To many of those individuals we were all that they would ever know of Christianity and our lives formed all that they knew about the church. Of course this isn’t a treatise on Christian living. This is an article about martial arts. Even so the principle is the same. As the Head of Family of the Black Dragons and the Senior Grandmaster of the Black Lotus I have to lead by example. I have to, in affect, practice what I preach.
I had begin to relax in my old age and with my advanced rank. At sixty nine, with fifty nine years in the martial arts and the lofty rank of tenth degree I didn’t feel a great need to be doing much in the way of teaching. Instead I endeavored to teach through my writing and research, to serve in an administrative capacity to the organizations that I represent and to pontificate, walking around looking wise and maybe even a little inscrutable. Worked for me. At least for a little while. I found myself filling a void through the church that I ministered through. The church in in a very rough and what I like to think of as a challenged neighborhood. I found myself teaching a class to offer some structure and discipline to some of the kids in the neighborhood and give them something to do. I got a couple of really good students through that program and the teaching it afforded the kids put them in good stead in some challenging circumstances.
I’ve been teaching one of my grandsons for the last several summers and one of my nephews for a few years. Both have blossomed into really good martial artists. Along with them I’ve accrued several other students along the way. Now I find myself with a full class. It wasn’t my intent. It kinda crept up on me. A couple of the kids are at risk children and are both beginners. The adults are there for various reasons but I find myself teaching students of various ages and skill levels. Today was a really good class. Two new students. One is a young male of nineteen or twenty, a semipro boxer. He’s interested in doing some kick boxing and MMA and perhaps learning some karate in the process. I have one student that has been really successful in MMA but I don’t teach MMA nor do I have any interest in training MMA fighters, even if I had the ability to do so. I can teach him the striking arts and standing grappling. With all of the metal I have in my back newaza (ground techniques) aren’t my forte. If I go to ground the ground is where I’m liable to be. Additional proof that old age ain’t for wimps.
So what point am I trying to make here? I’m putting myself in a position to be a mentor for not only the two young fellas I spoke of but also the older fellow. His father died when he was pretty young and his grandfather passed about a month ago. He lives with his grandmother. I’ll teach him whatever I can but I’ll also be there as a male role model. Perhaps I’ll go to his gym and attend a few of his matches. My philosophy and the point I’m trying to make, at this juncture by precept and example is exemplified by the name of this essay; “Each one teach one”. If we teach martial arts or whatever our skill set may be let our skill be the precept but lets you and I be the example. We were blessed to be taught or to learn what we know. Now let’s give back to the community. Let’s sow seeds of knowledge, wisdom and compassion. Most of us talk a pretty good game but now let’s practice what we be. Let’s be proof of the lessons that we teach. Let’s reach out and be an asset and a blessing to someone’s life. Let’s be a solution to the problems that plague our communities and our world.
Blessings to you my brethren and friends.