By Jose R. Villanueva

As originally published on the Listen & Be Heard Weekly1, May 18, 2005.

There are many Martial Arts instructors that do not know what it means to be an in instructor. An instructor must be able to wear his hat, but he cannot wear it if he does not know what it means. This is a very integral aspect of performing one's job. If an individual does not know what it means to be an instructor, he better find out fast because all manner of difficulty will occur. One cannot perform without knowing. The things that an instructor must "know" and "be" in order to understand what it means to be a Martial Arts instructor are 1) Professionalism 2) Ethics/Responsibility and 3) standards.

Professionalism is the attitude and conduct that a Martial Arts instructor must exhibit on a daily basis. One takes great care to perform with tremendous skill his hat in the particular activity. He maintains or exceeds the standards that have been set by others in the past. He gets the job done with relentless pursuit. The mission is stated to perpetuate a purpose, and he accomplishes this goal with courage on a consistent basis.

Ethics has since time immemorial been a contributing factor to the success of any individual or group. One cannot separate responsibility from the application of ethics because it is part and parcel to it. I continuously mention ethics as a defining factor in life because it is heretofore the one thing that contributes to sanity, happiness, and prosperity. When we talk about an instructor understanding ethics and the application of it, it can be observed that he has a sense of what his responsibility is to himself, his school, his students, and society. It cannot be understated in any way the importance of ethics to the success of the very thing that an instructor loves to do. Teach. Teach with effectiveness.

There are professional standards that were discussed above, and there is the technology and productivity standard of any system of Martial Arts. Any instructor must be a beacon of truth when it comes to the exact application of self-defense technology. He must understand the importance of it, and lay a line of demarcation when it comes to the exact 100% application of technology. An ethics perimeter must exist to ensure the integrity of any system to maintain effectiveness. When it comes to productivity standards, every instructor must expect the most and the best from each and every student, and he should never settle for less.

If an instructor truly understands the three concepts of professionalism, ethics/responsibility, and standards, then he really knows what it means to be a Martial Arts instructor. An individual cannot step into the job as an instructor and expect to be successful without a knowingness of these things. Every current and potential student is counting on every instructor to know his business thoroughly.