Pride and Loyalty – One Martial Arts Student’s Experience
There is a certain feeling one gets from being a part of something larger than themselves. A buildup of tension in the chest, an indescribable rush that completes a person. That is pride, pride in oneself and pride in becoming one with an ideal or a place.
Martial Arts students take what they do very seriously, and they take where they do it even more so. The pride that students take in their school is a powerful thing. It can drive them to excellence in taking what they learn and applying it. It can also inspire the fiercest kind of loyalty and the cleanest floor you’ve ever seen.
Most students that attend a martial arts school have usually some common motivations for wanting to learn the art in the first place. Either they want to get into shape or learn to defend themselves or even just because it looked cool.
These starting reasons are fine and they are what give people the initial push to begin learning the art, but the interesting part comes shortly after they join and being training. There is a shift in attitude that occurs in the student’s mindset when they start to feel a sense of pride for where they train.
They start wanting to represent the school with the clothing they wear, the case on their phone, or decals on the car window. They want people to know that they practice a martial art and where they train.
This is only the beginning, however.
As they continue to train there is an increase in things students will do for their school. They tell people about the school, ask about the origin of their art, or try to attain a deeper understanding. They try to impress, they train harder and that motivation changes from, “I want to get in shape or learn how to defend myself,” into “I want to be the best me I can be!”
The pride the students feel isn’t just reserved for the adult class either. The younger pre-teens get this sparkle in their eyes whenever they get an opportunity to learn something new. This inspired pride and subsequent loyalty breed action by the students to help keep the place where they train in tip-top condition. Some students want to give back to their school, such as repainting the school or making art for promotional events and reminders.
Some students take pride in cleaning their training floor and school in general. Others, however, seek to do what has been done for them during their entire time training: teach the next generation of students who were just like them not too long ago; to pass on the knowledge of their teacher.
That feeling that a person gets from being a part of something to the point that they want to spread that ‘something’, tell everyone about it, and make sure that where they do it is the best it can be, that is pride. That feeling is irreplaceable and inspires so much more than clean floors and fit bodies. It inspires loyalty to oneself, to the self-image one has crafted.
About the Author:
Robert J Kennedy III is a student at 4GK Martial Arts. He is currently a Purple Belt and has joined the team as an instructor for the kids’ martial arts program. Robert began his martial arts training at the age of 7 and continues to explore his art while committing to additional training to help him become a better teacher for those he now coaches.