• Shihan Kendall

Making Us Proud

"Show class, have pride, and display character.

If you do, winning takes care of itself."

-Paul Bryant

A very loaded word, “pride.” It means different things to different people. For instance, for every quote by the one above from Bear Bryant extolling the virtue of conducting oneself with pride, there is an equal number of adages warning us that pride is the sin that leads us to our biggest mistakes. The truth, as always, lies in the context. If our sole concern is the opinion of the people around us, and our status in relationship to them, then we are letting Bad Pride steer our course. But when we are only striving to meet our own standards, and measuring ourselves in relationship to who we were the day before, we are letting Good Pride be our compass.

Bad Pride is what made me so hesitant many years ago to hold a martial arts tournament. I have very little patience for the kind of Bad Pride people that seem drawn to the opportunity to prove that they (or their kid) are better than everyone else, and I had seen a good amount of that in some of the tournaments I had watched and participated in when I was coming up. I am very protective of the spirit of humility and community citizenship that I believe are hallmarks of our Dojo warriors. Fortunately, I was shown that I didn’t need to worry; that spirit was strong enough not to even need my protection.

And so it was, at our Seventh Annual Fall Tournament on Sunday that Good Pride was on display at its absolute best. It was not only in the performance of competitors’ performances in front of the judges, it was in how they carried themselves on the side lines and in the medal lines. It was in the way those martial artists cheered each other on, or in the fact that the expressions worn by the kid getting the Gold Medal and the kids getting Honorable Mention medals were exactly the same. And it was in the way every person who made the event possible worked so hard, and with such good cheer, to make it both professional and fun. So much gratitude for giving the Dojo a lot to be proud of, in the best sense of the word.


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