My background in martial arts started with Okinawan Karate and the training was old school so to speak. One of the very first things I learned was the simplest – be on time. Class started at 6:30pm, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. If you came at 6:31, the doors would be locked. Being on time was as much a part of the training as defending against a kick or punch.
Being on time was very representative of other factors. It represented respect for the Sensei, for fellow students, for the creator(s) of the art, the past masters and the art in general. Being on time also meant that your time was no more, nor less valuable than anyone else’s time.
Finally, if one is disrespectful and irresponsible in one area of their life (Ex/ not being on time continually), the chances are great that they are the same way in other areas. Is this the example you wish to follow?
What about work and family issues? Sometimes people get out of work at 6:30 and the dojo is 35 minutes away. What about such instances?
There is a huge difference between reasons and excuses. The aforementioned examples are reasons. In some instances, the numbers do not add up. And yes, there are times when emergencies occur. These are reasons and rarely if ever, avoidable.
Excuses on the other hand are always obvious. “We are on Spanish time or Filipino time or XYZ time. . . ” These are the adult versions of “my dog ate my homework.” They didn’t work back then and they do not fit not.
Excuses are behaviors which take some effort to adjust but with just a little effort can be changed. They are the thoughtless ways of being which affect others that we are usually unaware of. A true martial artist does not allow the weakness of excuses to become a part of life. If they do appear, they are pull out like weeds.
“Strict punctuality is perhaps the cheapest virtue which can give force to an otherwise utterly insignificant character.” If in our training we cannot build character, does anything else really matter?