Kenkyo 謙虚 Humility

True Humility Is Not Thinking Less of Yourself. It’s Thinking of Yourself Less. C.S. Lewis

Although humility and ego might initially appear contradictory, like good and evil, they are in fact dualistic elements to be balanced through martial arts growth.

If self-effacement aligns with respect, restraint, kindness, patience, diligence, honesty, decency, charity, and temperance, it should permeate the behaviour of every ascendant individual inside and outside the dojo.

Modest martial artists focus on what truly matters rather than being mired in things that are inconsequential, i.e., besting fellow students or amassing medals. As a result, they are better equipped to handle genuine wins and losses than budoka who haven’t acquired humility.

As they encounter successes or setbacks along their martial path, some students and teachers can experience emotional extremes: ecstasy when receiving a new rank, title, accolade, or award; or frustration and anger as they lash-out at fellow practitioners, teachers, competitors, and colleagues when things don’t go their way.

Why the disconnect?

Sometimes the response is inconsistent with the message we tell ourselves. We may say one thing in our mind, but our action does not support the desired outcome.

I believe in over-training, over-performing and seeking excellence through absolute effort. This state of complete commitment provides a framework in which we accept both criticism and praise.

There is no guarantee that martial artists will develop humility or any other virtue through practice, but if we are intentional in the pursuit, it is more likely that we will grow in character.

As Yasuhiro Konishi, the founder of Shindo Jinen-ryu, said: Karate aims to build character, improve human behavior, and cultivate modesty. It does not, however, guarantee it.