Growing up in Karate

Well, the New Year is upon us. As we set our goals for 2005 it is important to also reflect on how far we have come over the last twelve months. In fact, if you have been writing down your goals for several years you can probably look back over a period of continuous growth.Sensei Joshua Meyer (2nd Dan Black Belt) was in town over the holidays, and I was reminded of an article he wrote a few years ago for the newsletter that included his reflections on his training here. At present Sensei Meyer is in his second year of Law School in Orlando and apparently doing very well. It seemed like a good opportunity to revisit his article.

I remember when I first started training with Sensei Mason and there was only one Dojo, one bathroom, one desk. I've not only watched the place grow, but also the people. I'm really glad I was able to be a part of everything. First I would like to thank the instructors who took the time to teach me, especially Mr. Mason. I've traveled all around the state and even all around the country and I have never seen anyone who comes close to having the knowledge and perfect execution that Mr. Mason has. He has watched me grow since the day I was born to my first “Shiai” (in school tournament) at the age of three, to a Shodan (First Degree Black Belt), Nidan (Second Degree Black Belt) and beyond. I owe him a great thanks and attribute a lot of my happiness and success in life to him. Sensei has a great sense of humor, great knowledge, and has been a role model to me, as I have tried to be for the kids I have taught over the years.

I would like to thank all of the kids for making my teaching experience a memorable one. I had a blast playing Karate games at the summer camp, helping everyone improve on their basics and Kata, but most of all I enjoyed sharing the knowledge I have in my head with you. You all have made me very proud and I wish you all the best of luck in your karate training. One of these days when I come down to visit I want to hear that my record for the youngest to get a Black Belt at age twelve has been broken.

There is a certain satisfaction you get when you set a goal and work hard to achieve it. Though there may be some struggles along the way, stick with it because the feeling you get is indescribable. A great guy once said "Black Belts are only white belts that kept on coming to class"; this is very true, and I know that all of you will make great Black Belts one day. Thanks to all the Black Belt students and Sensei who sparred with me, trained me and pushed me to become better, and a big thanks to Ms. Jackie, Ms. Cynthia, and all the people who work behind the desk and keep everything running smoothly.

Sensei Joshua Meyer

Sensei Meyer wrote this article six years ago when he left to go to College. He has continued to work out regularly and always takes the opportunity to train when he is in town. During his competitive career he was a Florida State Champion many times in both Forms and Fighting. Additionally he was medallist at the Junior Olympics and an AAU National Champion.

Sensei Robert H. Mason © 2005


A Framework for Thinking Ethically

What are Ethics?

Ethics are standards of behavior that tell us what humans ought to do in their personal and professional lives. Ethics and ethical standards apply to individuals, organizations, and society as a whole.

How do you identify ethical standards?

Utilitarian approach:

The ethical action is the one that provides the greatest good for the greatest number, or the greatest balance of good over harm.

Rights approach:

The ethical actions is the one that best protects and respects the human, civil, and moral rights of those affected.

Fairness or Social Justice Approach:

Ethical actions should treat all human beings equally or, if unequally, then treatment should be fairly based on some inequality that is defensible.

Common Good Approach:

Every society needs common conditions that are important to the welfare of everyone. The ethical action is the one that serves the common good of creating these conditions.

Virtue Approach:

Ethical actions are consistent with certain ideal virtues, for example, honesty, courage, integrity, self-control, justice, prudence, that provide for the full development of our humanity.

How do you make ethical decisions?

You consider the facts. You walk in the shoes of all those affected.

You consider the options you have. You evaluate options based on:

Which does more good than harm?

Which supports individuals’ rights?

Which treats everyone equally or fairly?

Which is best for the community as a whole?

Which virtues are encouraged, which discouraged?

           Can this decision be defended publicly?

Markula Center for Applied Ethics, Santa Clara University

On Developing Morality

As children develop their thinking skills they also develop morally. The Swiss Psychologist Jean Piaget, a specialist in the development of thinking, was able to demonstrate that children pass through specific stages of cognitive development in sequence. Kohlberg, a student of Piaget, demonstrated that moral development parallels cognitive development. One way to encourage moral development in children is to pose age appropriate moral dilemmas and then discuss them. The more that children can learn to look at both sides of an issue, and the more they can learn to alternate their perspective between the main aspects of a dilemma, the more they will develop their morality. Regardless of ethnicity or creed, it is a combination of ethical thinking and moral development that gives us the tools we need to solve the dilemmas we face in life, both as kids and as adults.

Sensei Robert H. Mason © 2005