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No one cares how good you are at karate

There could be glory in being a martial arts instructor. We put on our official gi uniform, tying each side into place. We wrap on a Black Belt with the years of training it represents. We practice our techniques and kicks and follow the motto of the leadership creed: teach by example, be patient and enthusiastic.

And before every class, yet again, we tell ourselves: No one cares how good you are at karate.

They don’t care how high you can kick, if you can do a split, if your punch is fast, if you know how to speak Korean, if you’ve analyzed the styles of every Avengers movie, how many trophies you have, if you can choke out your opponent, if your instructor was a great great grand master, or if you can do a 7-minute kata and run a 4-minute mile.

No one cares how good you are at martial arts.

People only care how good you can make them.

Grandmaster Greg Silva, who is very very good at martial arts, recently said, “It’s all about them, it’s not about me.”

The most prolific writer on leadership in history, Dr. John Maxwell, recently wrote, “Life’s most urgent question for leaders: 'What are you doing for others?'”

That is the challenge that we pass along to every student and teacher here. It’s great that you’re good, but can you get someone else to achieve more by being around you?


Instructors are judged not as much by their own skills, but their ability to pass along that knowledge to the next person and celebrate each victory as if it’s their own.

That’s victory as a teacher.


by Rochelle Brenner

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