They Call Me Master

testing taekwondo students
taekwondo master testing

They call me Master, yet as I look at my students I wonder.

Some of my students are much faster than me; yet they still call me Master. Many, by far are already more flexible than me and dare I say stronger; yet they still call me Master.  Quite a few could easily beat me in a competition; yet they call me Master.  Their progress executing forms and using weapons is nothing but an expression of art, each one an artist in its own way; yet they call me master.

But what is a master may I ask?  I did dare to ask this question to two of my senior students and was pleased with the answer, or the lack of as neither one of them could truly give me a true meaning for this term.  Both of them did mention the respect that it was given to those that claim the title of master and to a point they did refer to, although indirectly, to a level of expertise.  Yet one of them made me think as her definition of master was beyond any martial arts definition I ever heard of or read.  A master signifies LOVE.

With that said and done I will claim ignorance and  share my thoughts to the world so that hopefully some of those Masters with more experience than me can join in and share their opinion.  Even those that are not Masters are welcome to comment so we can learn from each other.

The easiest way for me to describe a Master is with a simple word, Grandfather.  The reason for that is as follows: A grandfather already had the experience of raising its own kids which for the purpose of this example is like an instructor getting a student to become a black belt.  So a Master gets to see his own black belts train students and pass his lessons to a new generation.   Also like a grandfather, there is no issue in terms of competition against kids or grandkids as their successes become the grandparent successes as well.

Yet unlike a grandparent, I see a master as someone who has a high level of discipline.  A person who selects to push his limits, that refuses to give up and selects to continue a path of enlightenment as we can never learn too much.  A master is humble and recognizes that he/she may be able to learn from any individual.  A master is a person who shows wisdom and understanding in multiple occasions.

So as I started writing, my students call me Master, yet I would like to believe that in their minds this title is a symbol of respect that represents, Love, wisdom, knowledge and patience.