The Tradition of Loyalty By Dave Hanson Sensei

The great motivational teacher Zig Ziglar said that, "Loyalty is an expression of love." Loyalty is one of the greatest time honored traditions of the martial arts.  Loyalty can be hard to find in today's fast paced modern culture, but it still has value and the greatest leaders have learned to express loyalty to those they follow and also to those who follow them.  There are three aspect to preserving the tradition of loyalty in the dojo and no matter if it is Japan, or right here in St. Louis, Missouri these traditions can and should be followed if we truly want our deepest held values to live beyond us.  The three P's to the tradition of loyalty are Protect, Preserve and Pass on.  If we are loyal and we love what we do and the people we follow and those we lead, we will naturally want to follow the three P's of tradition.  Lets examine each here.

   To protect.  In the Japanese culture they honor and protect their elders, likewise we must also honor and protect our friends, teachers and the values that we identify with.  Our values define us and when we protect those things and people we care the most about, it reinforces our beliefs and our loyalty.  Loyalty is the glue that binds us and it is expressed in our willingness to stay the course and stand our ground no matter what the cost.  Sometimes the greatest type of courage is the ability to just stand and hold fast to your values and keep true to your friends.  In life we must have the courage to protect those people who we respect and love and stay committed to our beliefs, that are based in truth, and not be persuaded to change just because of popular opinion.  When we protect our dearest held values, we preserve them.

  To preserve.  People preserve all kinds of things.  It is common for people to store preserves in shelters, just in case of an emergency.  Those preserves represented the ability to sustain life with their valuable nutrients. Preserving our deepest held values and traditions is similar to the preservation of those canned goods.  Our most treasured beliefs and relationships bring us hope and life and to maintain them takes effort to preserve them in a changing culture.  We also preserve things like priceless works of art, music, antiques and many other items.    If we go to such extremes to preserve lifeless object, how much more should we put for the effort to preserve our loyalty to our values and relationships.  If we are dedicated to the preservation of those values that are dearest to us we can maintain them to pass them on.

  To pass on.  This is the ultimate test of leadership.  We call it legacy.  The only thing that lives beyond our mortal life here on earth is the legacy of our influence that we pass on to our family and friends.  If we work hard to protect and then preserve our values and beliefs we can pass them on, but it's not that easy.  Many of the greatest athletes never pass on their knowledge.  There are knowledgeable experts in every field who do not share what they know and one of the greatest tragedies for humanity is when their knowledge dies with them.  It takes a teacher to pass something of value on. It not just about sharing information, but being passionate about your commitments and values.  We can inform people and share are values, but they will never catch our passion and make it their own if they do not feel what we feel.  We must be passionate about our traditions and values.  John Maxwell says, "Instruction informs, but passion inspires." The root word of inspires means to breathe life into.  We want to breathe a fresh breath of life into our traditions and values and give them a life beyond us to live on in the future generations.  We must pass on what we know for it to live on beyond us.

  The traditions we hold dearest in the dojo is the tradition of loyalty that is expressed in the three P's; To Protect, Preserve, and Pass on.  When we are loyal to our mentors, teachers and friends and also loyal to our values we will naturally want to protect what we know to be true, preserve it so is can be passed on accurately and then breathe a fresh breath of life into what we know by sharing our passion with those who come behind us in the future generations.  The tradition of loyalty to our values, teachers and friends must be protected, preserved, and then passed on, to live on.  The question to ask is, "Am I loyal to those values and people who mean the most to me?"  The answer can be found in our dedication to the three P's.  Who and What are you protecting, preserving and passing on that will benefit the future generations.  Make the tradition of loyalty to those who care about most and to the values hold fast and true your legacy by protecting them, preserving them and then pass them on.  

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