TGJ: Do What’s Right by Marty Callahan

Tiger’s Great Journey Continued…

An Adventure Story for Youth Who Want to Make the World a Better Place

Tiger was in his room looking through his list of requirements for his next promotion—
Assistant School Leader III, which comes before II and I. He was excited to find out what new challenges awaited him. As he looked over the list, he saw that he had to actively serve as a Senior Class Leader for two months. He knew that Class Leaders had specific duties to fulfill once they earned that rank, and he made a mental note to review them.

The second item on the list of requirements was to show his Assistant School Leader that
he understood the Black Belt Shoka Leadership Trait of Justice by settling a disagreement
between two or more students. Tiger made a mental note to take this on as his first leadership task at his new rank.

Not long afterwards, Sensei was discussing disagreements in class. Tiger thought that this
was a great opportunity to gain some insight on how to settle a disagreement. He raised his hand to ask a question: “Sensei, if two people have different ideas about what is right, how am I to determine who is correct?”

Sensei said, “That’s a good question, Tiger. In any situation, you must use your training and your resources. For instance, if you and Kevin are working on Tekki Shodan, and you tell Kevin that he is doing a technique incorrectly and he doesn’t agree, there are several ways to settle the disagreement. You can discuss it and possibly come to an agreement about how the technique should be done. That would be called using your training. You could check your handbook to find the answer. That would be using a resource. Or you can ask me and I can explain, that’s also using a resource.”

Tiger thought about this answer, and it seemed to him that it was a good solution for a lot
of disagreements that might arise, when he thought his sister had done something wrong, he could talk to his Mom or Dad. When he had a disagreement with a classmate at school, he could talk to his teacher. But then he thought about what happened when disagreements were really big. He raised his hand again.

Sensei looked at Tiger and nodded.

“Sensei, what about when people get in a fight or when countries go to war?”

Sensei looked at the students for several moments. “This question of fighting and war is a
very serious question and has been with mankind for a long, long time. It is unfortunate, but many people still think that it’s okay to attack other people when they disagree with them. It is much better to learn how to talk respectfully to other people when you disagree with them. This way we can settle our differences peacefully without fighting or resorting to war.”

Sensei then asked, “Who has heard of justice?” Several students raised their hands again.

Sensei nodded to Kevin, who said through a giggle, “There’s the Hall of Justice for Super
Heroes.”

Sensei smiled and said, “How about a serious answer?”

Tiger raised his hand and Sensei nodded. “I’ve heard about the Hall of Justice, where they take people who commit crimes,” Tiger said.

“Good,” said Sensei. “Let me give you a definition. Justice is fairness; it is doing what is
right in the right way. Justice is about ending conflict and mediating disputes, or finding the middle ground.”

Stacy raised her hand and Sensei nodded. “So it seems like settling a disagreement is about finding justice or fairness?” she asked.

“Yes. Or sometimes it is as simple as finding a solution that both parties can agree to, even if it is not what they wanted,” Sensei said.

“Well, this has been an important discussion, but it’s time to end the class.”

Tiger stood up and walked to the first position in the line and took his place. He was the
highest-ranking student in class, which meant that he would lead the class in the meditation and the bow-out ceremony. All of the other students in Tiger’s class and the following class lined up according to rank.

Sensei kneeled in seiza.

Tiger gave the command “seiza!” and the class sat down in the sitting/kneeling position.

Then with the command “mokuso!” the class members cleared their minds and emptied
them of all thought.

Tiger then announced, “mokuso yamae” and the class stopped meditating.

Next was the Dojo Creed. Tiger gave the commands and the rest of the class repeated them after him.

Seek perfection of character!

Be faithful.

Endeavor.

Respect others.

Refrain from violent behavior.

“Shomen ni rei!” They all bowed to the front honoring the masters who had gone before them and done so much to prepare the ground for their training.

Sensei turned to face the class.

“Sensei ni rei!” The class bowed to Sensei.

Sensei looked at the students, stood up and signaled to them to stand. The students rose,
and bowed again. Then Sensei told them that they were free to go. With that the students bowed again and left the training floor. Tiger thought to himself, that went pretty well. I remembered all of the commands and this is one of the requirements for my next test.

As Tiger walked over to where he had placed his gear bag, he was still thinking about
disagreements and justice. Tiger thought about the Dojo Creed “refrain from violent behavior,” and how that had a lot do with stopping conflict and settling disputes. He felt that he had a better understanding of how to settle a disagreement now than he had before the class had started. The words of the Dojo Creed were once again revealing new insights and lessons to him. There must be truth to what Sensei had once said: “The Dojo Creed, like kata, kihon, and kumite, has a unique ability to reveal truths, teach lessons, and expand your understanding of what you are capable of and how you can become a Black Belt Shoka Leader.”

Tiger had had a busy day. First he had gone to school, then to the dojo to train, next home
for dinner, and finally he had done his homework. He sat down in a comfortable chair and
looked forward to continuing his great journey. Tonight was different, though. He felt a strange sense of foreboding. He opened the Book of the Empty Mind and began to dream.

Marty Callahan has spent his life understanding and improving the lives of students both young and old. His passion led to the founding of Shotokan Karate Leadership School in Santa Rosa, Ca in 1981 with a dream to awaken the extraordinary leader in his students. Having inspired, taught, coached, supported, and trained over 15,000 students in 40,000 classes in Santa Rosa, Marty has become Sonoma County’s preeminent martial arts leadership instructor. His students, hundreds of whom have gone on to become leaders in their chosen fields, appreciate his engaging, student centered approach to teaching and they believe you will, too.

 

TGJ: Two Heads Are Better Than One by Marty Callahan

Tiger’s Great Journey Continued…

An Adventure Story for Youth Who Want to Make the World a Better Place

Sensei called the class together and asked them to sit on the floor. He began the discussion by congratulating the students who had recently passed their tests. Tiger had been promoted to the rank of Senior Class Leader. He still wore a purple belt, but he was now ranked at fourth kyu, one of the ranks before black belt. This meant that he was a trainer now and responsible for the development of five Assistant Class Leaders and two Class Leaders.

“Now,” Sensei began, “let’s look at your Responsibilities of a Shoka Leader handbook to find out what new duties and responsibilities you will have.”

Sensei had a copy of the book with him and began to read, “Crucial to the training you are receiving here at Shotokan Karate Leadership Schools is becoming the person you need to be so that you can solve the problem you need to solve. When we talk about solving problems we’re talking about BIG PROBLEMS, not small problems. Big problems require working with many people. This means that you need to know how to cooperate and how to gain the Cooperation of other people.”

This was not complicated stuff. In fact, it could be said that it was common sense that you had to cooperate and gain the cooperation of others. Still, it seemed that many people lacked basic common sense. “We work at changing ourselves by first learning to be a part of a team and then leading a team. In class, the problem we are trying to solve is the problem of having to defend ourselves against people who are trying to hurt us. And we work in teams to stop the attackers and not be defeated by them.”

Sensei looked around before going on. “A Shoka Leader learns to see problems before they become too big and uses the brainpower and skills of many different people to solve those problems. Or to put it another way, a Shoka Leader takes on challenges that require him to become something more than he is right now. And in taking on these challenges, he or she helps the world to become a better place. He makes life better for other people. This is a great thing. The world needs more people who think this way. It is the Way of a Black Belt Shoka Leader.”

Sensei saw that the students were following these words, and so he continued, “Once you
master the skills of teamwork, you will become a Class Leader. You will work with several
teams at once and help them to solve the many and varied battles they have to fight to keep themselves and others safe.

“When you reach the level of Assistant School Leader, you will be working with everyone in the school—students, parents, visitors, guests, and friends, as well as anyone else we might come in contact with. That’s why there are many different people contributing to the school, all of whom help people learn about Shotokan Karate Leadership Schools and help our fellow students learn their skills. Take some time this evening to look at your Responsibilities of a Shoka Leader handbook and review what your responsibilities are. Now, let’s practice kata.”

Sensei walked through the class critiquing the students. The students had gotten used to
being critiqued, but it wasn’t easy. Many of the students did not like to have their weaknesses pointed out to them in front of others—or at least that’s how they thought of it. Sensei explained to them that there is a difference between criticizing and critiquing. Criticizing is a way of attacking another person, while critiquing them is a way of offering constructive feedback so that they can improve themselves.

Tiger had been working with Jason and Jolee. Each of them had as much experience as Tiger, and, like Tiger, they were Senior Class Leaders in the dojo. The three of them worked well together, because even though they were proficient in their own right, they understood how to cooperate and gain the cooperation of others.

Sensei listened in as they practiced Tekki Shodan. First Jolee asked Jason how he did the
second movement in which you raised your right leg high and then stomped on your imaginary opponent’s foot before hitting him with a backhand strike. She wanted to know what he did with his arms while he lifted his leg. Jolee had seen a couple of different ways in which this was done and knew that there was merit to each.

Jason did the movement slowly to show Jolee and Tiger what he was doing. It turned out
that Tiger and Jason did the movement the same way. They both kept their hands together and raised their arms up just enough to let the knee of their stomping leg come up high and close to the chest.

Jolee was used to doing this movement a little differently, but she knew that it would be better for the group if they all did it the same way.

This was cooperation in action, and it pleased Sensei to see his students applying it so easily.

***

Marty Callahan has spent his life understanding and improving the lives of students both young and old. His passion led to the founding of Shotokan Karate Leadership School in Santa Rosa, CA in 1981 with a dream to awaken the extraordinary leader in his students. Having inspired, taught, coached, supported, and trained over 15,000 students in 40,000 classes in Santa Rosa, Marty has become Sonoma County’s preeminent martial arts leadership instructor. His students, hundreds of whom have gone on to become leaders in their chosen fields, appreciate his engaging, student centered approach to teaching and they believe you will too.

TGJ: Small in Comparison to the Vast Universe by Marty Callahan

Tiger’s Great Journey Continued…

An Adventure Story for Youth Who Want to Make the World a Better Place

It was a Thursday evening. As the clock stuck 6 pm, Aaron, the Class Leader, gave the
command to line up. The students who were ready quickly but calmly came onto the floor and began to organize themselves by teams. The students who were not ready moved a lot faster to avoid being late. Once all were in their places, Aaron gave the commands to face the guests, bow, turn, and face the front. Then he continued with the commands to sit in seiza, meditate, stop mediating, bow to the front, and bow to Sensei.

The students had learned that the front of the room was a special place called shomen, or
front. The reason Gichin Funakoshi and Masatoshi Nakayama’s pictures were on the front wall was because they had made major contributions to the art of Shotokan Karate. They were the karate ancestors, and showing respect to them was akin to showing respect to one’s parents, grandparents, and family elders who had done so much to make life better for others.

Also on the front wall were the American and the Japanese Flags, because this was the
United States, but Shotokan Karate came from Japan. Shotokan Karate Leadership Schools
believe it is their duty to do all they can to maintain good relations between the U.S. and Japan.

After the warm-up exercises, Sensei came back out onto the floor and asked Aaron to discuss Humility with the class. Sensei was confident that he could turn this topic over to Aaron, because although Aaron was only ten years old, he had spent much time studying character traits, particularly the character trait of humility.

Tiger was very curious to hear what Aaron had to say because he knew that it wouldn’t be
much longer before he’d be doing what Aaron was doing right now. Also, Tiger thought humility meant to be put down and, if it meant that, he was confused as to why it would be a leadership trait.

“Humility,” began Aaron, “is the quality of being humble. And being humble means to see
yourself as small in comparison to the vast universe.”

Aaron explained that there was a lot of benefit to seeing yourself as being small. If people
thought of you as being insignificant, they would leave you alone. This didn’t mean that you
didn’t respect yourself or conduct yourself with dignity. It meant that when you looked at the world as a whole, you recognized that you were only a very small part. After all, there are nearly 7 billion people on earth and you are only one of them.

Sensei once asked students to think back one thousand years in the past to the people who
lived in this very part of the world. Then he asked the students, “Where are these people now? What has happened to their ideas and the things that they held dear? Some of them are still with us, and some of them have gone away. And that is what is going to happen to us. One thousand years from now, people may remember our ideas, but they will not remember the vast majority of us. People will know little or nothing about us. So it’s better to relax, do the best we can with our lives, but don’t get a big head about it.”

When Aaron finished talking about humility, Sensei thanked him for a job well done. Facing
the front of the room, Sensei said, “Let me add one more thought before Aaron has you begin your discussions. Once I lived in a house that didn’t have a shower, so we had to take baths every day. I used to take a cup and pour water over my head in order to rinse off. It was my habit to sit up straight when I did this. One day, the water was particularly hot, and it hurt as I poured it over my head. For some reason, I decided to lean forward and pour the water over the back of my head instead. When I did this, it didn’t hurt at all. This seemed strange, so I tried it again. I sat up straight, and poured the water over the top of my head, and it hurt. Then I bent over, and poured the water over the back of my head, and it felt warm and soothing. I repeated this several times and kept having the same sensation: hot and uncomfortable on the top of the head and warm and gentle on the back of the head. You see, this is the power of the bow. This is the power of humility.”

With that Sensei turned the students back over to Aaron to discuss in teams how they could
learn to be more humble through their training.

 

Marty Callahan has spent his life understanding and improving the lives of students both young and old.  His passion led to the founding of Shotokan Karate Leadership School in Santa Rosa, CA in 1981, with a dream to awaken the extraordinary leader in his students. Having inspired, taught, coached, supported, and trained over 15,000 students in 40,000 classes in Santa Rosa, Marty has become Sonoma County’s preeminent martial arts leadership instructor. His students, hundreds of whom have gone on to become leaders in their chosen fields, appreciate his engaging, student centered approach to teaching and they believe you will too.

What Is Servant-Leadership?

Servant leadership is a philosophy and set of practices that enriches the lives of individuals, builds better organizations and ultimately creates a more just and caring world.

While servant leadership is a timeless concept, the phrase “servant leadership” was coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in The Servant as Leader, an essay that he first published in 1970. In that essay, Greenleaf said:

“The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.”

“The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?“

A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid,” servant leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps
people develop and perform as highly as possible. Robert Greenleaf recognized that organizations as well as individuals could be servant-leaders. Indeed, he had great faith that servant-leader organizations could change the world. In his second major essay, The
Institution as Servant, Greenleaf articulated what is often called the “credo.” There he said:

“This is my thesis: caring for persons, the more able and the less able serving each other, is the rock upon which a good society is built. Whereas, until recently, caring was largely person to person, now most of it is mediated through institutions – often large, complex, powerful, impersonal; not always competent; sometimes corrupt. If a better society is to be built, one that is more just and more loving, one that provides greater creative opportunity for its people, then the most open course is to raise both the capacity to serve and the very performance as servant of existing major institutions by new regenerative forces
operating within them.”

The servant leadership philosophy and practices have been expressed in many ways and applied in many contexts. Some of the most well-known advocates of servant leadership include Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Peter Senge, M. Scott Peck, Margaret Wheatley, Ann McGee-Cooper & Duane Trammell, Larry Spears, and Kent Keith.

Prepare your child for any eventuality – prepare him or her to serve. Put her on a noble path – the path of the servant leader.

Contact us today and find out how we can help.

707-575-1681

 

Marty Callahan has spent his life understanding and improving the lives of students both young and old. His passion led to the founding of Shotokan Karate Leadership School in Santa Rosa, CA in 1981 with a dream to awaken the extraordinary leader in his students. Having inspired, taught, coached, supported, and trained over 15,000 students in 40,000 classes in Santa Rosa, Marty has become Sonoma County’s preeminent martial arts leadership instructor. His students, hundreds of whom have gone on to become leaders in their chosen fields, appreciate his engaging, student centered approach to teaching and they believe you will too.