This week, students have been hearing and discussing the subject of loyalty and what it means to be a loyal person. This is a subject that has a fine line. On one hand, loyalty is a great character trait. Being loyal shows a commitment to a person, to support them in good times and bad times. For example, we see this displayed in friendships and marriages when people support one another and stick together through thick and thin.
But on the other hand, we don't want to teach our students to be loyal blindly. You shouldn't be loyal to a person who is abusive or constantly treats you harshly. Loyalty is a two way street. It must be given in order to be received.
My wife makes fun of me (jokingly) because I am a very loyal person. For example, there is a sushi restaurant that we go to. They have great food and the service is always friendly. Every now and then my wife will suggest a different sushi restaurant we should try, but I am always vehemently against it. It's not there is anything wrong with trying out a new restaurant. It's just the our usual restaurant is consistently good, I enjoy them, and honestly, I feel their dependable service deserves my loyalty. In this example, my loyalty was earned, but that's not the only type of loyalty.
Let me expand the analogy. A few months ago we got takeout from our favorite sushi restaurant and when I got home, I realized they had forgotten to give me an appetizer we had ordered. Was this a reason to never go back? Absolutely not! Maybe they were having a very busy night, or perhaps their chef was new and got confused. Either way, being loyal means that when a mistake happens or a situation takes a turn for the worse, you stick with the person you are loyal to. Loyalty can be earned and reciprocated, but at the end of the day, it should extend past a simple transaction and become a foundational part of a relationship.
Now, I should mention that I calmly called the restaurant to let them know they had forgotten my appetizer and they were super apologetic and gave me a free credit for the next time I came in. Why? Because they valued my business and their loyalty to me was just as important as my loyalty to them.
Now this may seem like a silly example. Obviously, if I order from this restaurant and the next ten times I go to pick up my food and its disgusting and incorrect, then I will take my business elsewhere. But loyalty means I at least give them a chance. And though this may not be applicable to this particular analogy, if there was anything I could do to help out my friend or family who I am loyal to, then I would gladly do it. Loyalty is the hand that extends a ladder to pick a friend up out of the pit of despair rather than running away to find a new friend.
Let's extend the example just a bit further. Let's say that just down the road, a new sushi place opened up. This new joint is (maybe) just as good food-wise, but its got bells and whistles. They have a koi pond in the lobby and neon lighting above each table. They even have one of those inflatable wavy hand guys outside. Do I abandon my current restaurant and go to the one that has all the buzz? Probably not. I mean, again, this is an extreme example, but my point is that loyalty is faith in a person, place, or idea, and true loyalty means a commitment to the well being of such.
Trinity Martial Arts is so thankful for the loyalty of our students. It is their commitment to our school, instructors, and art that makes this a school that transcends simply being a martial arts facility, and make us a positive relational family. And our commitment is to be loyal to our students, always doing what is best for them and promoting their growth and success inside and outside of our training space. Thank you and Tang Soo!
Do you or your child want to develop positive character traits such as loyalty? Contact Trinity Martial Arts to find out more about our martial arts program, focusing on traditional martial arts, self-defense, and life skills needed to succeed in whatever it is they do!
About the Author
Master Matthew Eyler is a 4th degree black belt in the Korean martial art of Tang Soo Do and a New York State certified general and special education teacher. He has over 20 years experience practicing self-defense and teaching students of all ages and abilities.