Within this role, we are subjected to scrutiny from both senior and junior members. Remaining vigilant becomes imperative to ensure that our leadership does not succumb to abuses of authority. Throughout history, instances of leaders falling victim to their own downfall due to the misuse of power have cast shadows upon various martial arts organizations, clubs, or Dōjō.
The allure of growth and popularity can transform well-intentioned Martial Arts leaders into unwitting bullies, wielding their influence to control others. This may manifest in the imposition of new rules designed to suppress members perceived as threats to their skills, competence, adoration, or popularity. Unfortunately, these leaders often remain oblivious to their interpersonal flaws, complicating the process of self-diagnosis.
Identifying a bully, or Deshabari 出しゃばり (intrusive or
meddling individuals), requires a keen awareness of their tendency to lie, manipulate circumstances, and shift blame. Bullies lack the essential qualities of diplomacy, empathy, and authenticity, seeking to harm others mentally and emotionally. It is imperative for Sensei 先生 to not only abstain from exhibiting bullying behavior themselves but also actively counter such actions in others.
Effectively dealing with bullies necessitates a mature approach. One strategic option involves denying them the attention they seek, even if it means intentionally walking away from contentious situations. Alternatively, responding with compassionate maturity not only diffuses tension but also sets an influential example for the antagonist.
Renowned figures in Budō 武道 organizations have addressed such behavioral issues, underscoring the importance of promptly reporting dysfunctionality to seniors and handling individuals with maturity. Leo Lipinski Shihan’s recommendation to adhere to the chain of command emphasizes the significance of timely reporting to prevent complications.
Caution must be exercised when dealing with bullies, considering that their actions may stem from personal problems, depression, or past exposure to bullying. The wisest course of action is often to distance oneself until the bully faces the consequences of their actions, either through legal repercussions or a personal awakening.
A compelling analogy:
- Regarding a workplace bully – A united front against a workplace bully, resulted in resignations and legal consequences of for all those involved and / or with knowledge of aggregious events however chose not to take action.
- In a karate context, a similar situation unfolds, but the absence of broad support for the target led to the antagonist’s eventual demise and resignation prior to their removal.
In conclusion, as teachers and Budōka 武道家, our duty extends beyond the physical realm of martial arts. We are entrusted with the protection of our student base, the upholding the moral character of all within our reach, and the provision of positive leadership examples. Through these actions, we actively contribute to the growth and well-being of our students and the entire martial arts community.