I was pondering the idea of character this past weekend. It occurred to me that character is most often learned.
As primarily a learned attribute, where do we, as humans, learn the concept and value of character? Much of what we learn (or do not learn) in life comes from modeling our parents and/or role models, and unfortunately a large segment of the population was never exposed to the idea of character in this context – quite the opposite in fact.
So, in considering those people that never had the benefit of positive, impactful modeling in their younger years, where can these folks learn and embrace character? This is a tough question for a specific reason: character ultimately is earned. When I say earned, I mean to say that character (in my opinion) is not necessarily revealed by adversity and hardship, but is rather the result of reflection upon the lessons learned in living through adversity or hardship. In the end, isn’t character on display doing what is morally right despite of the cost?
Dictionary.com defines character (in this context) as “moral force; integrity.” The application or revelation of character is then the display and follow-through of integrity and moral force in the face of adversity. The simplest way to express this is the following:
Do you do the right thing when it’s the hard thing?
Character costs something. But, in reflecting on the cost, I wonder if we suitably consider the gain?
What good does it do a man to gain the whole world if he loses his soul? That question is rhetorical in nature and hits at the heart of this concept.
I believe one of the reasons Krav Maga has grown in popularity is the yearning of the human heart to embrace the challenges inside and outside the classroom as a means of developing character and strength for the road ahead. While character is built in much the same way buildings are erected brick by brick, so to goes the pursuit, dedication, and training in Krav Maga.
So the next time someone asks you to provide a reason to do Krav Maga, just say character. I bet that starts a whole new conversation.
…walk in peace.