Here is story from last weekend's dojo dance: The dance ended at 11:30 PM and many of the students stayed to help clean-up afterwards. It was a difficult task as many them had already been up since 5:00 AM for early morning intensive and would undoubtedly not get home until close to 2:00 AM. Naturally, the kaikan (meeting hall) was a mess and there was a lot to do. This was the first time we had used this kaikan so we couldn't know or plan for the clean-up. When the lights came on each student ran off and started cleaning up different areas. One party goer commented, "Wow, you guys cleaned up fast." When it came time to mop the entire hall at the end, a kind lady told us, "Oh, don't mop it all down. Just spot mop it. Nobody will notice." One of the students replied, "That's OK. We have to mop the whole thing." The same lady came back later and commented, "This place has never been so clean. I didn't even know it still shined." She went and got other party goers that were still milling around to show them and they all agreed.
It made me so happy when this lady was praising us. I wasn't happy because she praised us. I was happy because in her praise she was validating our thoroughness as martial artist. As martial artists our conduct reflects how well we are trained. A tenet that warriors live by is, "Bushi no ichigon kintetsu no gotoshi" which roughly means that a warrior's word is gold. We say we are martial artists then we must act like martial artists. When we borrow something we give it back in the same condition or better. There is no place for duplicity in the martial arts. If we say we will do it then we will. Our conduct, our actions and our word reflect on us as martial artists, as Aikidoists, as student's at the ACLA, on the dojo, on Sensei as our teacher, on Aikido as our art and on O Sensei as our founder. As martial artists we have integrity and therefore our actions must mirror our words.