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"The Empty Hand"

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The Forgotten Virtue

In our Karate training we have a list of 8 Virtues. These are things we work on improving and perfecting in our everyday lives, much like the process of working on and improving our Karate.

These Virtues are: Modesty, Courtesy, Integrity, Compassion, Gratitude, Perseverance, Self Control, and Indomitable Spirit.

By understanding and working on improving these virtues, this is what separates Karate training from just being a brawl. We have Courtesy and Self Control when we are working on defense drills with one another so we don’t get hurt. We show Gratitude towards one another for helping us get better. And so on, I know I don’t have to spell this out for you.

I feel, however, that there is a missing virtue every bit as important as the eight listed. And that virtue would be: Sincerity.

If there is not a sincere meaning behind your actions, do they really mean anything? I have seen countless videos on social media of an extremely kind act. For example, students treating a less fortunate student well, people helping the homeless by giving them a large sum of money, or people bringing nice gifts to someone in a time of need. Of course these are very generous actions.

But after these videos I always ask myself: Why did they record this? And why did they feel the need to post the video? Can’t the act be enough? What was the real purpose of the gesture? Was it to be selfless and kind, or was it to have a video go viral and have everyone say what a great person YOU are? Too often it seems very insincere to me.

I’m sure you have experienced something similar in your own life. Like when someone asks you how you are doing and you can clearly see that they couldn’t care less. Why ask in the first place? Or someone has a very aggravated look on their face and they pretend to be happy and smile when they are talking to you and the moment they are done speaking, the aggravated look comes back. Clearly speaking to you at that moment was not what they wanted to be doing.

To me, being sincere is a great everyday practice. And you can still be nice AND be sincere if you are talking with someone you don’t especially care for. Maybe you don’t ask how they are if you don’t care, but instead mention what a nice day it is, or tell them to “take care.” You are being kind and being sincere at the same time.

I think if you take any of the listed Virtues, and if there is no sincerity behind them, they are really meaningless.

Thank you for your time. Train hard and with intent!

john g

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