In the Name of Honor

by Stephen LaBounty (2011-04-15)

This word "Honor" is such an important part of so many facets of our lives. It is the way the we conduct our lives in relation to not only family, friends, but the all encompassing Universe of which we have been a part of since we've drawn our first breaths.

The motto of my lineage is "Spirit, Honor, Discipline" and it is expected that all my students embrace those words in not only their practice but their lives too. In this post I've decided to focus on "honor." Let's start with my description of the word first. It is the belief, the application, and the understanding of what Honor is, means, and why it makes one's life most centered. It is the esteem and regard that we hold ourselves to in life. It is our integrity without guile, without insincerity, without disrespect for ourselves, our family, friends and especially our loves. It is the acknowledgement to all that we are what we appear to be and will be, and that can be trusted always.

Yet in the best of us flaws show through eventually; leaving us disappointed in those whom are most important, and that disappointment hurts enough to wound the friendship. Even worse, we may discover that the traits we so much admired were put-ons, cosmetics hiding a shabby interior, and we cannot count on any friendship to survive the feeling of being lied to or conned.

None of us are excused from this trait but many of us struggle to overcome the false necessity to display this cosmetic and hurtful characteristic. Most fail. Because the need for the attention and the kudos that we long for make this "game" appear and exist, it is through some lack of confidence, some past hurt, some violation that we feel a need to look strong and in control. But what comes of it that it's magnified all the more, put into play and then, the crash.

As this is Martial Arts site, I will address this lack or loss of honor. For me, we are all given Honor at birth, we are cultivated to keep it, use it, understand why it is important and then as we mature, "increase and multiply" it. I will then tell you of my struggle to regain it, keep and nurture it, but most likely in a "part II" missive.

I spoke of "cosmetics" earlier in this letter and wish to explain how that affects the Marital Artist, who, in reality is just another flawed and imperfect being. We do have however, the ability to become even "greater" than even we thought we could, wiser with the passage of time, and in my opinion, the pain that comes with life can be the "gain" that we need.

Often I am asked to watch or judge, or just comment on someone's presentation of their take on Martial Arts. I always give the caveat that I would be honored to do so, but I would also tell them my truthful opinion, which is MY opinion only, but they may take offense to. I have yet to have anyone tell me "never mind," but then a few, very few actually, have opted to not put themselves in that situation completely. Most of those who I did give an "honest" and sincere opinion took it for what it was meant for, a direct and instructional critique of what I saw.

I will leave this for your perusal and thought. I will in the next part, give you what I had to do to overcome this "disappointment" from those I trusted and love(d), and the accpetance of my contributions to the lack of "Honor" in my lifetime that resonates today, but keeps me on the path of awareness of how easy it is to lie, to cheat, to dishonor, to hurt, but worst of all, the lack of respect for someone, something, I love so passionately...

In Part II of "In the Name of Honor:"