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Courage

One of our 4 Values

Courage is one of the four values at Centenary Martial Arts.  Loyalty, Integrity and mateship are the other three.  Being courageous is not just about being physically brave.  In fact, the most courageous people I know, have a moral courage that many people lack.   We all know what is right and wrong.  We all know what the right thing to do is and what we should not accept.   Having moral courage means doing what is right, regardless of the cost to yourself.  Being a Martial artist means you continually demonstrate controlled aggression, discipline and integrity in all that you do.   To do so, you MUST have moral courage.   It is what makes a normal person, a great person.

What is Moral courage

What do I mean by doing the right thing, regardless of the cost to yourself?  I mean, never walking past something you know shouldn’t be happening.  For example, in your workplace or at school, you see your friends bullying another person.  You know it’s wrong and needs to stop.   Many people would turn a blind eye because they don’t want to upset their friends and risk the consequences of that.   Doing so is being a coward.  A strong and courageous person will stand up to their friends and make them stop.  They won’t weaken to peer group pressure and let it continue.  In other words, they will show moral courage and do what is right, regardless of the consequences.

For Example

When I was in the Army, I had a dislike for thieves.   In fact I still do.  It didn’t matter if they were stealing from their peers or the Army itself.  Some people (thankfully not many) thought it was OK if the theft was from the Army, being a big Government organisation.  My view was different.   I didn’t care who they were stealing from, because either way, they were impacting their mates and colleagues in many ways.   In particular, they were destroying trust and mateship, two vital components of a fighting team.  They were also taking money that could be used to purchase capability or provide training. Both of which influenced survivability on the battlefield.  Now some people argued that $10 here and there doesn’t make much difference, but the truth is if everyone took $10, the amount of money would quickly increase.

Displaying Moral Courage

I once listened with interest to a group of soldiers who were talking about theft.  One soldier challenged the view that stealing from the Army was OK, because it was a Government organisation.  As expected, he was ridiculed, but showed true moral courage, explaining how it impacted on the equipment they wore and carried and the training they undertook.  Both of these things reduced effectiveness on operations and hence, survivability on the battlefield.  He also pointed out that every theft, no matter how small, impacted on trust which ultimately broke down the team.

Sadly, many agreed with him but lacked the moral courage to support his view.  Over time this soldier was seen as an inspiring individual with integrity, loyalty and courage.   He was looked at as a leader in the group, not just a peer.  To cut this story short, eventually, his values and strength of character saw him promoted and moved to another area.   His moral courage was also rewarded when several soldiers reported one of their peers for theft, something they would have previously ignored.  I often think about the moral courage displayed by this soldier and how in the long term, not only saw him promoted and start a long and rewarding career, but also influenced others to do the same.   Most importantly, the Army was able to rid itself of a thief who had no concern for survivability on the battlefield of his mates.

Moral courage and a Martial Artist

You may ask why I relay this story to you.  Well, I think it’s important to always try and see the big picture of someone’s actions and if it’s wrong, have the moral courage to do something about it.  Doing so might be scary and may even have consequences you prefer didn’t happen, but if we all did it, in the long term, we can change the world.

A true martial artist must demonstrate controlled aggression, discipline and integrity.   To do so, you MUST have moral courage.   It is what makes a normal person, a great person.   Be the best you can be …. Be Great.  If something is wrong, be courageous, stand up and address it, regardless of the consequences to yourself.   Only a coward turns a blind eye and walks the other way.   A true Martial artist is not a coward!!!!

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Why we all Grade together

Monthly Grading days 

At Centenary Martial Arts, we have monthly grading days with one grading belt ceremony at the end of the day.  You may ask why we do that.  It’s important, not because other schools do it, but because it reinforces the culture within our school / club.

Why only One Grading Belt Ceremony?

Within our school we continue to talk about the most important person on the mats being our training partner.  We talk about Loyalty and Mateship and being available for our training partner if they need our help.  I would like to think that every person within Centenary Martial Arts, regardless of age, belt colour, etc, knows that they are not in this Martial Arts journey on their own.  That is really important! 

Life long friendships have been forged whilst sharing a common cause, challenge or hardship.  Soldiers going into battle together.  Netball players working through a season and taking out the grand final.  Uni students helping each other through their studies and earning their degrees.  Martial artists working through the challenges of learning and grading to a new belt colour, knowing that everyone is sharing the journey with them. 

I want every Bilbie, Wallabie, Falcon, Teenager or Adult, who steps onto the mats to grade, to know they are not alone.   We are there sharing the journey and supporting them.  I want everyone to know that the Bilbie Orange Belt, is just as important as the Adult Red belt.  Lets face it.  A Black belt is simply a white belt who didn’t give up and kept telling themselves, ‘I can do this’.  

That’s why at the end of each grading day, all new belts awarded, will be entwined and done at the same time.  For example, a Bilbie orange belt, will be awarded between an Adult orange belt and a Teenage orange belt.  That tells everyone they are equally important and we are in this together.  Not to mention the awesome photos we will get, showing a cross section of our school.

Our Culture

As the Chief Instructor for Centenary Martial Arts, I am passionate about our school being something special.  Something that we can all be proud of.