Word of the Month: Courage
Courage, Aristotle said, is the most important virtue because it guarantees the others. Without the courage to stand up to injustice, a person’s concern for fairness does little good to others. It’s only when we stand up for what’s right in difficult circumstances that we really make a difference.
For us at Douvris Martial Arts, courage means trying new things even if they scare us. And like anything else, courage increases through regular practice. That’s how we help students become brave, by teaching them to push through their limits and improve themselves every day.
“Everyone that steps through these doors takes the first step in showing us their courage,” Sensei Cody Diesbourg explains, adding that it takes guts to launch yourself into a new adventure, even if only to find out whether you like it or not.
For a lot of us, karate is intimidating at first. It can be difficult to master, even for experienced students. That’s why we say that simply walking in and starting as a white belt, doing something that’s well outside most people’s comfort zone (burpees, anyone?), is already a strong display of courage. But as new students progress through the first basic steps, they need to continue being challenged. Our programs are designed to make students push their limits no matter what belt level they achieve. Everyone, including our black belt instructors, continues to improve their skills, learn new things and reach for goals they thought were beyond their abilities.
Furthermore, the life skills we teach our students, such as focus, discipline, respect and patience, also help develop their courage. And when our students display those skills outside the dojo, not kicks and punches but self-control, courtesy and leadership, they use their courage. “The biggest thing about martial arts,” Sensei Cody says, “is that we encourage our students to be themselves” both inside and outside the dojo. “Oftentimes what stops people from trying new things and succeeding is the fear of failing,” he adds. “At Douvris we instill the courage and drive to succeed.”