What makes a human more than an animal? When an animal dies all it leaves is its pelt, when a human dies all he/she leaves is his/her name. Whether that name remains honorable or not depends on our actions today. All we have is one chance to make the most of our lives, and it is through our actions we maintain our honor. What we do and what we stand for determine the quality of our honor and our lives.
That is why it is so important to develop a strong character. Our honor is our identity, and our identity is our proud name. What we accomplish in our lives through our actions is not only for our individual success, but also for our family and our group identity. Our family names, country names, company names, martial art names are all examples of this larger identity. We must work to maintain and further develop these identities, and never destroy them. Families, countries, companies, martial arts all have a group of people that live under their name, which creates a specific identity for that name. Each family has one name that all members are proud of and develop to pass their proud name from generation to generation. That is why one must spend their lifetime dedicated to that one identity.
The martial art application to this is that one must spend their lifetime practicing one art. Even if you have learned other marital arts, you must choose one, and keep one martial art identity for your honor. Then you progress through that art’s higher-ranking system by testing in front of the founder and testing committee. This is earning a true dan degree rank. Martial Artists should never self-promote themselves with a higher rank, mix their original art with others, and never display multiple martial art names at their school. When individuals commit these actions, they are leading a dishonorable life and are not following the true marital art way. An individual can only have loyalty to one art, and when people mix different martial arts the meaning of both art names and identities disappears and is destroyed. We must follow our one tradition in order to build up that identity. That is living honorably. All of our actions are for pride in our identity and we must never do anything to destroy it.