Character

人格 personality;  character;  individuality

Merriam-Webster definition of character
  • : the way someone thinks, feels, and behaves : someone’s personality
  • : a set of qualities that are shared by many people in a group, country, etc.
  • : a set of qualities that make a place or thing different from other places or things

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The third of the five words/phrases that we use to define the “Principles of the Black Belt” is Character.

Clearly the English and Japanese agree on personality.  Further, we can understand that the components of a personality are the qualities that create a unique individual and define him or her as a member of a group that values and shares those qualities.

One can “be a character” without having “Character”.

When you the reader think about the word “character” in relation to a person, what are the qualities you think of?  Honesty, fairness, noblity, morality, decency, goodness, integrity, virtuousness, honor, incorruptibility,  propriety,  ethics, morals, are but a few of the potential list.

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How do we mean it in the Martial Arts?  Doing the right thing, based on a moral code that includes the list of qualities above.

Character is NOT just “who you are in the dark”, but rather who you are as both a Human Being and a Human Doing.  Therefore, we martial artists strive to be people of Character.  It, like so many aspirations in life, is an ongoing process.  Sometimes in the forefront of our minds, sometimes overshadowed by other pressures and concerns.  We are human after all but are in the process of acquiring skills that require more attention to our own inner landscape.  (see the Sincerity post) We do learn how to defend ourselves and others, but at the price of the knowledge to damage, maim, or kill.  This is a burden that requires the principles of the Black Belt: Effort, Sincerity, Character, Self-control, and Indomitable Spirit.

We try to hold each other to a higher standard and recognize that this modeling does have a beneficial effect on our students and each other.

So while many of us ARE characters…we do intend to work towards Having Character.

Brian Dillon                            What do You think?  Let us know!

One thought on “Character

  1. Pingback: Indomitable Spirit

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