PHILOS-ChoongWithin human society there exists many different identities. First -there is a familial identity, second – there is a community identity, and finally there is a country identity. These identities define who we are as individuals, and as an individual and member of one of these identities there are certain duties that are required of us. The success of our identities and the support we give to them is our honor. That is why we must have loyalty to our family, loyalty to our community, and loyalty to our country. Our lives should be dedicated to the betterment and well-being of our larger identities. When the people of a country have strong loyalty, their country will be strongly built. That is why a country first counts its people’s loyalty. The people must give their respect, their pride, selfless service, selfless duty, selfless cooperation, and if necessary their lives for the countries protection and benefit. Of course, the leader must be strong and virtuous, fulfill their duties to the people, and in return gain the support and loyalty of the people. If society has strong loyal leadership then that society will be strong forever. Loyalty must exist for the success and strength of your identity, and also for your honor.

Parents, friends, teachers, and other role models within our society should teach loyalty by displaying loyalty. The mentalities of martial (military) arts and of military service are the best institutions to learn and develop an individual’s sense of loyalty. Your martial art is also your identity, and its name is just like a country’s name. One should never break away from the art’s identity for selfish motivations. A martial art must exist under one name and quality controlled by one governing organization. There has been a trend within the martial art community for individuals to break off from their original identity and form a “new” art or a “new” organization. The only purpose of these new manifestations is for the fulfillment of selfish desires or for the profit of one man. Either way, their martial art identity is destroyed as well as the integrity of the entire martial art community.

An individual’s loyalty should be given towards one’s art and the honor of its name. Loyalty should not be given to one man, but the art itself, just as a citizen of a country should not give loyalty to the one designated leader, but to the ideals of the nation. Even if your master makes a mistake, one should not follow such bad example. Stand strong beside your martial art and selflessly work for the benefit and honor for your next generation of practitioners.

This dilemma between the self and the whole is a widely discussed subject throughout the ages. Without the whole, there is no self, and without the self, there is no whole. One needs to make the individual strong and self-sufficient and then honor its teachers and providers by serving the whole to maximize benefit for everyone. If you have followed the trend of this selfish business model, go back to your original art’s identity. For each art’s identity there must only be one governing organization. The integrity of your art’s identity is your honor as one of its practitioners. If you left, were expelled, betrayed your martial art, or simply went to another martial art for any reason, you should give up your former art’s identity and stay true to your newly found art. You should never use its name, your former founder’s name, your former master’s name, and your former techniques. The other option of course, is to go back to your original art and make peace to find a way to share your beliefs, your goals to enhance the standards of the whole. One should not mix the techniques of your former art with your current art’s syllabus, and should not display multiple martial art names in your personal biographies. These actions only destroy the traditional identity and the honor of both arts. If you find yourself in the situation in which you are caught between multiple arts, you need to make a decision and chose one. In the end, one must take a stand. Stand for what you believe and what group you identify with. Find that one art and give your loyalty and commitment to it. The success and honor of that one art’s identity is also your success and honor.