By Bruce Dean, red belt
It is important for CTI students to be good leaders in our community. As martial artists there remains a misconception in society about what we do in a dojang and the purpose of our studies. There remains a belief among some that martial artists study so that they can “beat people up” and that we are inherently violent people. It is therefore incumbent on us to do whatever we can to dispel such misconceptions, and by being good leaders in our community we can show that such thoughts about us and our sport are not true.
CTI students can be good leaders in our community in many ways. The most direct is by being good citizens and good examples of civic responsibility. From the seemingly obvious requirement of obeying the law, to more subtle actions like helping the elderly or impaired with their groceries in the parking lot of Safeway, a CTI student can show leadership by demonstrating that he or she is a good citizen. One need not necessarily run for community office to be a good leader. Rather, one of the best ways is to simply “go do the right thing”. This may include volunteering, or simply acting on something.
Leaders have vision. They are able to develop relationships, able to resolve conflicts, good problem solver, good motivator. Vision is a leader’s concept of what they intend to accomplish and how they plan to get there. It is their destination, where they intend to go. Without the destination there is nowhere for anyone to follow the leader to.
Another important aspect is the ability to resolve conflicts. It's important because as a leader, you have a team. And conflict within a team can destroy it.
Being good at solving problems is important because even though a leader must have a vision of what they intend to accomplish and how to get there, the path is rarely without obstacles. So, if a leader is not good at solving problems – the obstacles in the path – then the leader will not be able to accomplish his/her vision
Being a good motivator is important because as a true leader, you are leading by example – you are inspiring them to follow, rather than a commander who drives people from behind. And since you must inspire people to follow a good leader must motivate them to do so.