Courage, it has been said, is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to act correctly in spite of it. The Japanese described it as “The Spirit of Daring and Bearing.” It is natural to assume that courage is associated with being brave and fearless. Certainly, many cultures besides the Samurai emphasized the value of valor on the battlefield. The expression, “a coward dies a thousand deaths and the valiant only one” still resonates with the warrior’s spirit present in us all. Yet rash behavior leading to a wasted sacrifice was considered foolhardy and termed “a dog’s death.”
So, is courage only about fighting? Absolutely not! What about fortitude and bearing things that seem unbearable? Who is more courageous – the trained warrior in battle or the parent working multiple low paying, dead end jobs to support a family? It could be argued that the warrior placing them self at risk has more choice in the matter than the parent. Potential for fame and glory can be more appealing than anonymity and drudgery.
I have always enjoyed seeing students developing the courage to overcome their fears and translate those lessons into their lives in a very practical way. Like, children who take personal responsibility for their own success or failure and accept the outcome. And like adults who no longer fear to change jobs or a change in their life that takes them well out of their comfort zone. I like a new public service ad seen on TV recently. A young man admits to his basketball coach that he touched the ball and is applauded by his coach for it, even though the other team gets the ball as a result. That takes moral courage, and something we need to see more of.
Mr. Weber is the chief instructor at the Aikido Academy of Self-Defense located at 16134 North Oracle Road, in Catalina. He has more than 40 years of experience in the Martial Arts and has achieved skills in a variety of disciplines. He also teaches Tai-Chi with classes on Wednesday from 11 a.m. to noon and Saturday from 9 to 10 a.m.
Please call (520) 825-8500 for information regarding these and other programs. If you wish, check out the website at www.AikidoAcademyOfArizona.com.