DSC_0785Leadership is an important topic to me. I think that everyone must be a leader. This doesn’t mean that everyone is “in charge of” a company, a department, an organization or people in any manner. It does mean that they continually strive to improve themselves and support others.

I’ve heard the saying forever “Lead by example.” This had several other platitudes that came along with it that were mostly understandable but still vague. I came across this article – The True Meaning Of Leading By Example – and found some well stated views.

The first is the idea of a personal brand. I’ve understood that the way I am viewed is the way my school is viewed. My personal brand is visible to all through my students. Since I don’t lead in a business sense, my branding is more complicated. This concept, though, did make me wonder if students are recognizing that they are building their personal brand through being in class? Being a senior student is a fantastic opportunity to develop your personal brand. How do you want to be viewed by others? Just remember that it cannot be fake!

When you are leading, are you truly leading? Are you getting things done? Watching senior students working with juniors gives an interesting experience. While working on a pattern (Taekwondo poomsae or Gumdo gumbub), are you performing the techniques in such a manner that the junior can follow? I saw one Haidong Gumdo (Korean sword) student fly through the pattern with the junior student falling behind and getting frustrated. This instructional method continued for about 20 minutes with the senior student always going too fast and just telling the junior to “do this”.

You can also see…or not…when students are getting things done by how much they stand around and discuss the material. Class attendance is intended for working on the information given during the lesson plan with, usually, a focus on physically practicing the material. The discussion of applications and concepts is done after class over food and drink.

Martial arts IS life. The way you learn, which includes training, will be seen in everything you do. This brings me to wondering if you are still working to illustrate how things should be. Are you still learning? Do you still ask questions? Do you truly understand the knowledge that you’ve earned? Do you help others develop their knowledge? Can anyone ask for help?

One of the beauties within the martial arts is that if you do a technique wrong, there’s no one else to blame. Yes, there may be some misunderstanding in what you are being asked to do and, even, in how to do the technique but only YOU did the technique. Part of this comes from making sure that you are asking questions and continuing to learn. the important part here, though, is recognizing the mistake and working to correct it. Take the blame no matter how minor, respond positively, then go back to work. This will be a huge help when you are in you career path.

DSC_0845Once you achieve your goals, usually attaining rank, should make you remember all of those who helped you achieve them. If you do a technique incorrectly, that’s your mistake. When you perform a technique correctly, its because you learned from your teachers (because it wasn’t magically loaded into your brain).

Senior students should be thinking about their brand and how that brand affects the school’s brand. This is seen in how the student performs in demonstrations or offers the efforts to organize demonstrations and other events. Students get the opportunity to be responsible for activities beyond teaching. They can make all the decisions for these activities, also. What a better way to prepare for your career or advancement in your career? Students who regularly step up to assist have a successful future ahead of them.

Author: Master Robert Frankovich

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