Monday, August 27, 2007

The UBBT: A Method of Attacking the Idea –and Why

There are some things that probably ought to be done without fanfare, without announcement, without publicity.

The UBBT isn’t one of them –and let me tell you why:

We are teachers; teachers do for others. Now, of course, there are plenty of reasons that teachers teach that could be considered selfish, as there are certainly benefits teachers derive from practicing their craft; but, for the most part, teachers give (and give and give), unselfishly and unconditionally.

At least the best teachers do.

This is what the UBBT is about. The program may, at first glance, seem like an ambitious self-improvement program, and it is –but only in part. The UBBT serves you best when you recognize it as a teaching tool. Telling people about the UBBT is telling them about the potential people have (you have, they have) to use daily life, ambitions, goals, and practices, (the struggle!) to REALLY LIVE. And to be fit, to be aware, to be participative, to make it a habit to grow, learn, and evolve.

Doing the UBBT is a way to teach others, to SHOW THEM they can do more; you show them by your example; and not to guilt them into improvement, but to just simply show them how they can apply themselves to their life in a way that is immensely rewarding (although it requires self-discipline).

Do you recognize how SHOWING someone is so much more powerful than just telling them?
But wait! How powerful would it be to just decide you are going to live as an example of “mastery” –separate from any UBBT, event, or whatever? That is, I think, the amazing thing that some ordinary people do –that eventually makes them shine.
Jhoon Rhee’s like that, as is Ernie Reyes, Sr. I think Dan Inosanto embraces the idea, as does Thich Nhat Hahn, Julia Hill, and add the name of your favorite hero right here ______.
Whoa! Wait again! Don’t we want our students, our “black belt candidates” to USE their black belt test (or any test) as a reason to transform and improve? Could we ask for more?

So, let’s teach them a lesson about how to use one’s “black belt test” as a vehicle for improvement. Let’s show them how it’s done. Do it right, do it thoroughly with discipline and focus, and you’ll teach 1000 lessons.

Two or three times during the UBBT I’ve had someone tell me they’re not writing down their ACTS OF KINDNESS because they want to engage in kindness separate from recognition and/or reward.

And that’s noble –except that is, in my opinion, not the point of the exercise.

We record 1000 acts of kindness, and we do it publicly and with declaration, because we are teachers. Every acts of kindness is a lesson in the extraordinary, in self-discipline, in determination, and in commitment. If it were just for our own spiritual health, then yes, it would be a good thing just to DO them...but this isn't about you --it's about people you have the opportunity to teach (young and old alike).

So is it with the entire UBBT process. Doing the UBBT is an act by a martial arts activist. It is you doing something overtly public –to serve as a role model for others.

Julia Butterfly Hill sat up in Luna, the old growth redwood tree, not just to save a single tree or patch of forest, but as a declaration of the need to take action on issues that you feel strongly about. It was to show how one person can make a difference.

In my “perfect world” scenario, people who do the UBBT do it because they CAN –and because they believe that it’s their responsibility (and/or opportunity) to teach others they can also do more, be more, change, and improve. Of course, some people will not understand...but that's not going to stop us from turning the key in the lock of our classroom --and opening the door. It's our job.

Start the UBBT with the mindset of a teacher (which is the mindset of a student).

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