Many years ago, my sensei told me a story,
A student once asked his sensei, “What is the difference between a person of Do (the way) and a little person?”
The sensei replies, “It is simple. When the little person receives their first dan black belt, they can hardly wait to run home and shout at the top of their voice, to tell everyone that they have obtained their first dan. Upon receiving their second dan, they will climb to the rooftops and shout to the people. Upon receiving their third dan black belt, they will jump in their car and parade through town blowing the horn, telling one and all about their third dan”.
The sensei continues, “When the person of Do (the way) receives their first dan, they will bow their head in gratitude. Upon receiving their second dan, they will bow their head and their shoulders. Upon receiving their third dan, they will bow at the waist and quietly walk alongside the wall so that people will not see or notice them”.
In this materialistic world, karate-ka who follow the way, are few, but to me, the above story epitomises a good martial artisit. The older I get, the more I realise, character is everything!