By Jose R. Villanueva

As originally published on the Listen & Be Heard Weekly1, May 11, 2005.

If one examines the history of civilizations, one can see how the lack of ethics has caused the demise of societies and civilizations. Even a cursory examination can determine this quite easily. Civilizations are fragile things, and they can come apart at the seams. Examples of societies that eventually collapsed are Atlantis, mythical Camelot, Rome, Prussian Empire, British Empire, and the Soviet Union. A people degraded and civilizations degraded, and the dwindling spiral perpetuates itself. When individuals become permissive and allow behavior that does not apply the "greatest good for the greatest number", civilizations find their destruction.

Ethics is inherent to every being, and in their optimum state, they live lives of honor, integrity, and responsibility. Thus, a group, a society, and a civilization can "flourish and prosper." The Martial Arts must have ethics applied to it for it to continue to exist. The moment that it is degraded, is the exact point in which it will begin its collapse. The Martial Arts is the bearer of truth and knowledge. It is a technology of self-defense. In this sense, it is a technological body of knowledge that when applied derives specific end results. It will stay intact so long as the individuals that are the bearer of truth and knowledge maintain its integrity.

Why can't technology exist when ethics is out? You can count on the unethical to omit, alter, and misapply technology to the degree that it will no longer work or work less effectively. When a practitioner of the Martial Arts alters a technique, omits a mechanic essential to application, or downright misapplies technology, then that individual cannot derive the results. Can one consider that there is a product to exchange with the public if this occurs? Any such alteration would be considered a lie. A lie is created by the alteration of any characteristic of a truth.

Ethics cannot just be limited to the Martial Arts in house, but the practitioner in life outside of the school must apply it. If one is unethical outside of the school, it will eventually bleed into his activities in the Martial Arts. Life can become so chaotic for the practitioner that he/she cannot maintain their focus, regimen, and consistent schedule of training. The practitioner's situation would reap no results.

It is a very simple formula. A practitioner must maintain his own ethics in order for training results and future application to be workable. Training will be expeditious. One's training time will be shortened considerably, and tremendous certainty of application will be the benefit. Of course, the broad spectrum of life itself will not be daunting because the practitioner is applying the key to "flourishing and prospering."