For me to define the word, I associate it with a two step answer. The first part is "Belief". An honorable person must "believe" in something. This is also not just any belief, but more importantly, a belief in what is right and what is wrong. The second part is "Actions". An honorable person can't just sit back and ignore those around him. They must stand-up to those who are doing wrong.
"He has honor if he holds himself to an ideal of conduct, though it is inconvenient, unprofitable, or dangerous to do so." - Walter Lippmann
To expand on this, I often think about how important honor was in Asian culture. During several battles, of WWII. After clashes between the US and Japanese forces would result in American victory, American troops would arrive to find mass suicides. Japanese troops had such honor that to lose a battle was so devestating they would rather die, than return to their families, having lost. This level of commitment is required to truly understand honor.
"The greatest way to live with honor, in this world, is to be what we pretend to be" - Socrates
I am not suggesting students commit suicide, but I am suggesting that we train ourselves to have that single minded focus. For example, there is bullying in every school, but there never seems to be a good way, for the school systems, to stop it. Of course, we as martial artists have other options, and we should actively pursue them. In class last night I proposed a question. If someone was getting bullied at school, and a fight occurred, what would all the students watching do? I immediately got the answer I expected. Everyone would pull out their cell phones and start to record it, on video. So how does this impact a martial artists, and why do I mention this with regard to honor?
"Nobody can acquire honor by doing what is wrong" - Thomas Jefferson
It's simple, bullying is wrong and every student who does nothing about it, becomes bullies themselves. To allow an action, breeds more of that action. An honorable person will see the wrong and do whatever needs done to correct it. I will expand on the topic of bullying, in a later blog, but for now, I want our students to understand this basic concept. Right is right, wrong is wrong. Ignoring the wrong we see is allowing it to continue. None of us are perfect, but as we strive, every day, to demonstrate black belt attitude, we begin to see that we need to be the shield that lies between evil, and those we love.
"Honor isn't about making the right choices. It's about dealing with the consequences" - Unknown
As we look out at the world, there is much evil, and we can't run headlong into every battle that occurs. What we can do is pick the evils we feel most strongly about and start to focus on them. This could be bullying, as mentioned above. It could also be domestic violence, rape, drinking and driving, or drugs. There are also far more basic occurrences like cheating on a test, or not listening to our parents. Regardless of the path we walk, as black belts, (or future black belts),we must work every day to become a better person than the one we knew yesterday.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to start a discussion below. And until next time, I'll see you, "In the Dojang".