By Jose R. Villanueva

As originally published on the Listen & Be Heard Weekly1, February 15, 2006.

There are many Martial Artists who teach, but not all are leaders. If you involve yourself in the field of knowledge and the teaching of knowledge, you had better have leadership ability. You should apply your capabilities every moment you're on the floor with students. How is leadership defined? How do you become a leader? There are those that are such bright examples of leadership that people know it when they see these individuals. Leadership is a special title and position for an extraordinary individual.

Leadership is the ability to command, and hold a position in your environment. A leader is an individual who can get agreement, and get actions executed to complete a goal or task. Fear does not exist because a leader can comfortably confront his or her environment. Courage is exhibited when, despite barriers known and unknown, a leader persists. Leadership is also the application of high standards. A leader is the prime example of ethics, and expects ethical behavior from everyone. Leadership requires the display and application of power. A leader cannot be fearful of applying power, because fear would diminish the effect. Loyalty to a group, integrity, motivation, expectations, and acknowledging and rewarding the productive within the group are all characteristics of leadership.

Anyone can develop fearlessness and courage. One must take an inventory of every fear one has, and have the courage to confront each one. Fear is helplessness and an inability to act. One must have the courage to break those fears, and walk through the shadows. No one can lead if they're scared. Furthermore, no one can communicate effectively in order to get the job done. Fear limits one's reach. Thereby, one's power and ability are diminished.

Intelligence and knowledge work hand-in-hand. Your intelligence increases as you absorb more truth and knowledge. The increase in knowledge also means that your responsibility and control increases. You become someone who can handle your "sphere of influence."

The individual must exhibit integrity and ethics to have any chance of leading. You must be able to maintain the purity of an activity and state the truth as you see it, when there is occasion to do so. Ethics are decisions made by the individual to apply the greatest good for the greatest number of people. This is rationality. Loyalty to a group is vital. If you cannot be loyal, then you can't lead.

An individual must have certainty; everything follows from that. You will then have an ability to be decisive, and will permeate confidence within a group. Certainty comes from a thorough knowledge of the field or activity you are engaged in.

There is a definite lack of leadership in many sectors of society. This is why one sees decay in certain environments. When a leader comes into an area and applies his abilities, there is a meteoric rise in that sector of society. That area begins to flourish and prosper. A debacle of sorts occurs in areas where there is a dearth of leadership. There are pseudo-leaders in existence today who make your heart shudder with the idea that they are even in that role. Leaders make themselves leaders by strengthening all the points I have stated above, looking at themselves honestly, and taking responsibility.