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#409711 - 10/17/08 08:03 AM Re: Ethics, morals, values and character building [Re: dandjurdjevic]
harlan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
Seems sensible. Like we used to say in the Sixties...'It's what you bring to the party.'

This question, and your reply, really point to the the heart of something that has bothered me for some time. And that is...knowing the above...why would any 'traditional' teacher instruct bad people? But...I don't want to derail my own thread!

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#409712 - 10/17/08 05:35 PM Re: Ethics, morals, values and character building [Re: everyone]
Ronin1966 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3113
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello Michael:

<<but martial arts doesn’t teach those things.

Some obviously do not, but those are only (exclusively?) interested in the "fight". I propose there are definately teachers of many different arts/practices who do teach those exact things you might call what, foolish idealism perhaps?

<<Martial arts teaches how to fight.

Ok then what are you actually studying after 5, 10, 20 years then prey tell

Jeff

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#409713 - 10/17/08 06:14 PM Re: Ethics, morals, values and character building [Re: harlan]
Ronin1966 Offline
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Registered: 04/26/02
Posts: 3113
Loc: East Coast, United States
Hello Harlan:

<<why would any 'traditional' teacher instruct bad people?



I would not pretend to be whatever the stereotype of a "traditional teacher" might be. However, if I know someone is doing something "bad" with the information I give to them, what they learned from me... they are "called on it". If the behavior(s) does not change or is too outrageous, dangerous, etc. they would be asked to leave...
period.

Are you capable of evil Harlan? Is... Ed/JohnL/Matt? Is our founder? Am I? Take your pick of whomever... the question I believe is not whether we can make idiotic mistakes but whether we can CHANGE resulting from them...

If I keep going to that little bar and always end up bashing heads.... write any scenerio you want. The bottom line, the art needs students or the knowledge dies. Will the knowledge be passed through people who use their powers for the ~forces of good~, or will the information be given to those who follow the "dark paths" .

If I detect you are a danger to others, or perhaps yourself you would be asked to go bye-bye. Cannot imagine it would be any different for ~traditional~ teachers.

Jeff

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#409714 - 10/17/08 09:33 PM Re: Ethics, morals, values and character building [Re: Ronin1966]
harlan Offline
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Registered: 07/31/04
Posts: 6664
Loc: Amherst, MA
Sorry...but that is simplistic. Yes..people make mistakes. That infers that they were operating with the understanding that it was the 'right' thing to do...not that it was the wrong thing to do...a clear understanding of what is right and wrong...and elect to do wrong. And we aren't talking about stealing a candy bar here...we are talking about damaging people on purpose...and enjoying it all the while knowing it is perceived of as generally 'wrong' in the social sphere.

But back to the original question...is there a difference, semantically between the terms: values, ethics, morals, and character building? The reason I ask is that when the general topic comes up, of MA being beneficial in that area, people tend to blur the lines between a teacher teaching by example good ethos...and morals and values as steps to indoctrination into a (insert any unspecified) religion.

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#409715 - 10/18/08 12:41 AM Re: Ethics, morals, values and character building [Re: harlan]
dandjurdjevic Offline
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Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 844
Loc: Australia
I think that "values" and "ethics" are largely interchangeable - they are specific to a mileu - eg. culture, profession, religion etc.

"Morality" in the colloquial sense has connotations of universality - but it is also culturally contextual. Nonetheless it is possible to identify broadly whether behavior meets the definition of that term in a particular culture.

"Character building" is the process of modifying one's behavior in accordance with prevailing standards of morality.

Does this help.
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http://www.dandjurdjevic.com/

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#409716 - 10/18/08 07:02 AM Re: Ethics, morals, values and character building [Re: dandjurdjevic]
dandjurdjevic Offline
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Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 844
Loc: Australia
The 'birthday greeting' was a slip of the mouse btw!
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#409717 - 10/18/08 03:45 PM Re: Ethics, morals, values and character building [Re: harlan]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6768
Quote:

Okay...we hear it a lot...that martial arts can be good for the character. Lots of 'ideas' in people's heads when they sign the kids up in the local dojo. But looking around, the reality is...there are a lot of jerks in the martial arts...so whatever possible 'character building' aspects can be absorbed in training...might have more to do with what the MAist brings to it to begin with.

My question is this: what is the difference between 'ethics', 'morals', 'values' and 'character building'? I see many threads, here and elsewhere, that touch on this subject, only to be derailed by these terms. Are they interchangable...synonymous with each other?

What are your thoughts/experiences on this subject?




An MA instructor gives no more or less influence on a child's character than a baseball coach. The depth of the influence depends on how long and how often they are affected by the instructor's teaching. Someone having the same baseball caoch for 5 years, may tend to be affected by them more than a MA instructor they have had for only 2 years. for example.


That wasn't your question, but I think it's important to realize that, although MA has been marketed as a 'character builder' to attract parents to sign up their Johnny-A.D.D. in the hopes MA will deliver the promised character traits...The vast majority of MA instructors are not child psychatrists or professional mentors - they are just people, with varying influence on others.


as far as 'ethics', 'morals', 'values' and 'character building' - Those traits are for the parents to take responsibility and shape in their children by influencing thier own kids everyday...as oppossed to dumping a troubled kid off for 2 hours twice a week with someone considered a good guy, and hoping they come out Ghandi.

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#409718 - 10/18/08 07:24 PM Re: Ethics, morals, values and character building [Re: Ed_Morris]
dandjurdjevic Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 844
Loc: Australia
In my experience as a martial arts teacher and parent -

(a) yes, people do drop their ADD/ADHD kids off at a school with someone they consider a "good guy";

(b) most of them however do not have any illusions that their child will turn into Ghandi.

Why is this so? Karate/tkd/kungfu are all just "activities", ranked by today's parents as not dissimilar to others such as baseball. The fact that they have a particular "non-violent" ethos offsets the fact that they are "learning to fight" but little more.

In my experience, many parents today over-schedule their kids. Martial arts is just another thing to schedule. Imagining that parents think of their kids' teacher as some kind of "guru" is overstating things "just a little". Many of them just want child minding for 45 minutes. MA teachers are just saps who get this task.
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#409719 - 10/18/08 11:15 PM Re: Ethics, morals, values and character building [Re: dandjurdjevic]
Ed_Morris Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 6768
I think parents looking towards over-commercial MA gyms for kids' character building, is a bit like looking to Burger King for their nutrition. It feeds the kids ego for the short-term, but will never make them full.

character and values aren't built by design, they largely are absorbed, assimilated by process of osmosis by example and everyday mini-corrections. spending only 4 hours a week in a group with 1 instructor, vs living with parents 1-on-1 everyday - which one's character/values will be the larger influence in the long run?
The instructor may be one who the child student admires and tries to be like perhaps for the the time they train (averge kid student drops out in 2 years or less), but in the long run it's the parents (and later combined with friends) which are the largest influence on character traits.


One comment that was made about teachers not taking bad kids...if a MA teacher claims MA classes are character building, then why wouldn't they ONLY take bad kids?

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#409720 - 10/19/08 12:15 AM Re: Ethics, morals, values and character building [Re: Ed_Morris]
dandjurdjevic Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/10/08
Posts: 844
Loc: Australia
I agree with you about the Burger King analogy.

However, as I said, I seriously doubt most parents take kids to MA for "character building" of the kind to which you refer - any more than they take their kids to baseball for that purpose.

They might imagine that their kids need to participate in physical activity and socialise with other kids. Sometimes they might feel (in a misguided way) that their kids will learn some "self-defence" (although I suspect this is just an afterthought). They might feel that all these things will contribute to a socially and mentally healthier, more confident child. In this "couch potato and computer game" era ANY physical activity is likely to have SOME "character building" benefit of this kind.

Few parents I know (both as a teacher and parent) have ever viewed martial arts as anything other than a "ha-so!", pyjama-clad activity. They certainly don't seem to think of it in any "mystical", Ghandi-esque light. Maybe things are different in the US...
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