By Eileen Lindner, brown belt
You stand behind your actions and are confident in the direction your life is heading.
Modesty (from dictionary.com): having or showing a moderate or humble estimate of one's merits, importance, etc.; free from vanity, egotism, boastfulness, or great pretensions.
Arrogance (from dictionary.com): offensive display of superiority or self-importance; overbearing pride.
Being modest means letting your actions speak for you. If you are a modest person, you won’t brag or try to one-up your friends talking about your accomplishments or possessions. A truly modest person rarely talks about such things, and definitely will not compare themselves to others. Modesty requires that you have faith that people will know you by what you do, not what you say. Modesty also requires you to be proud of what you do, since you aren't going to be able explain away poor choices or behavior.
In daily life, being modest allows you to just do what you plan, not waste time telling people all of the great plans you have. Sharing goals, like your goal to become a Moo Sul Kwan black belt, helps keep you accountable and on track to achieve those goals; but bragging about how hard you work, how many poomse you know, or other details of your training is not helpful to you, or the people to whom you brag about it. Bragging about those things makes you arrogant, and not a good example of Moo Sul Kwan martial arts.
We want to always represent the groups to which we belong with pride and respect. Being a modest martial arts student or employee allows others to get to know you based on your actual effort in classes and at tournaments or on the job; not what you say your effort is. Being modest while also sharing goals about your training gives people outside of Moo Sul Kwan a broad picture of a martial arts student. People are often surprised that I am a brown belt. I am proud to have achieved that rank, and understand that their surprise isn't doubt that I could be a brown belt; but rather interest in martial arts and surprise because I don’t brag about it. That, combined with the facts that I am older than their perception of a martial artist and a woman – I use to encourage people to think about joining, the “if I can do it, you can do it” model.
Modesty in our daily life often draws people to ask more about what you do, or how they can learn from you. Being modest and respectful can teach others that actions truly do speak louder than words and that your life is an open book. You stand behind your actions and are confident in the direction your life is heading. Be modest; but proud of what you've accomplished and don’t stop working toward your goals.