Friday, October 29, 2010


I have been involved in karate at Sukura Martial Arts Academy for just about ten months now. At my last training night, Sensei Laurie invited me and a number of other students to grade. I felt extremely honoured to be asked. I have to also admit to a bit of pride. This started me thinking, just what does honour mean? I have always felt that honour is a guiding principle in my life but what does this word mean in today's society? Do we really know?

These days, with influences of Hollywood, comic books and other media forms, I believe we have lost the true meaning of the word. Today, all too often, people believe revenge is honour. The fact is that revenge is about as far away from honour as you can get.

When you look up the meaning of the word, even some dictionaries aren't clear. You find things like: The state of being honoured; the quality of being honourable. What does that mean???

This word has been badly used and abused. People have been lead to war and much worse in the name of honour. Sometime people will follow leaders that they believe are honourable but are after nothing more than power over their fellow man. Be sure you understand what you are being lead into before you follow.

Sometimes, if you pay attention to your own feelings, you will know almost instantly if the person you are talking to is honourable. They will give you a feeling of trust and peace. Remember, an honourable person is not out to hurt. Revenge or vengeance is not the way of honour.

In my efforts to learn more about Martial Arts in the present day of and its origins, I have been reading a book called Living The Martial Way by Dr. Forrest Morgan. I have been very impressed with the entire book but I did find particularly interesting, his views on honour. I looked up Dr. Morgan's bio from his current employer to see what it was that gave him this kind of instight. I was very impressed. This is an excerpt from his biography:

Forrest Morgan is a senior political scientist working in RAND Corporation. Prior to joining RAND in January 2003, Dr. Morgan served a 27-year career in the U.S. Air Force. Since coming to RAND, Dr. Morgan has done strategy and doctrine research examining such issues as assessing performance of the Air Force and Army in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

As you can tell, Dr. Morgan has quite a bit of experience with military-related issues. Now granted, his book Living The Martial Way may seem overly military from first read, but give it a chance to sink in and look at how it actually does apply to real life. This book, I believe, will give you a real look at what honour means along with a very interesting view into the Martial Arts.

To me, honour is being honest, trustworthy and dependable. An honourable person is not someone who will look for vengence but will believe in the law. A person who knows compasion and understanding. A person who can be trusted and will live up to that trust. An honorable person is lead by a deep sense of decency and morality.

There will always be those in power who know how to use and pervert honour like Russell Williams, so don't be fooled. This was a man people looked up to for guidance and leadership, yet look at what he actually turned out to be. Williams was a Colonel in the Canadian Armed Forces and Commander of CFB Trenton. Understand what honour is for yourself. Then add it to your own life.

Just imagine what a different place the world would be today if people understood the true meaning of honour.

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