When people come into our schools as white belts, they learn a three-part Student Code, or student creed, and promise to abide by it. We tell them right up front: “These are the three things you must remember whenever you’re doing anything dangerous, whether it’s a surf board, or a bungee jump, or martial arts lessons, or anything else.”
I believe in myself. I am confident. I can accomplish my goals.
We ask, “Have you ever had a day when you didn’t believe in yourself?” Yes, of course. Well, say it twice on that day. You have a right – a duty – to believe in yourself and your potential. You’ve succeeded before. Do it again.
I believe in what I study. I am disciplined. I’m ready to learn and advance.
We ask, “Have you ever participated in anything, like a job, or a relationship, or a school, and you just didn’t believe in it?” Some hands go up. “Why did you do it?” Well, I needed the money, or I was scared that I couldn’t find another way, or whatever.” It boils down to fear.
I believe in my teachers. I show respect for all who help me progress.
We ask, “Were you able to learn anything positive from a negative relationship?” Everybody says yes. So this includes negative teachers, too. We learn from so many people, even those who do not carry the title of teacher.
Those are the three things we start with. We say, “If you don’t believe in yourself, and you haven’t studied how to do it, and you don’t have a good coach, you’d be crazy to just jump in there and give it a go.” The only time you would ever do that would be a sporting event. “I’m mediocre at tennis, but I’ll take on this person. I might win? At least I’ll learn something.” You’re not going to die if you come in second place.
So that is our 3-part Student Creed. May it follow you all the days of your study of To-Shin Do.
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