More on Cowardice/Courage

The previous article on Fear and Courage sparked a lot of response. This is an old communication that was posted to Dennis Servaes’ online forum, CSEMT. I think many of you would appreciate it.


Mr. Gatdula, No matter how much I have trained, which hasn’t been much at all due to the fact that in my life at the time, it was time to refrain from training. Because I am slightly scared of fighting and would rather not fight, does this make me a coward? Thank you.


maurice gatdula wrote:

of course this does not mean you are a coward. when i talk about these things, i am talking to the teachers and so-called experts of the art.

martial arts training is not for everyone. TRUE martial arts training is not for everyone. i am guilty, like many other teachers, of softening the art to keep students longer. we all do it sometimes because we have bills to pay. but the difference between lighten up on your boys and selling out, is, are we really preparing our students? that is the question. yes, you want to make it safe, because each time you have to put a claim to your insurance it goes up. when the students see a classmate get a broken nose in class it scares the other guys. but you have to keep enough hardness in the training that it becomes useful and develops his or her ability to defend himself, and like swim lessons, you have to get wet to learn how to swim, and to learn to fight, you must overcome this fear.

teachers should teach enough of the fighting philosophy so that students understand what they are leaving when they quit. sometimes it is no more than a business relationship, i will quit and go to that school, or i will quit and come back when my money is better. no matter what you are doing that is so important that made you quit, i guarantee it wont be so important if you ever got mugged, you will wish you never stopped.

no body realized how valuable something is, until you need it.

a teachers job is to make sure every student coming in the door understands the value of training, what must be done in order to get trained, and what you have to sacrifice. i had many students after 2-3 months come to me and say, this kind of training is not for me. and there is nothing wrong with that. true martial arts training is not for everyone. just like college education is not for everybody, poetry is not for everyone, music is not for everyone. we can like these things, but maybe it is not written for us to be able to study it. but a master teacher, should be able to take the guy (or girl) who is not cut out to be a fighter, but wants to be a fighter, and develop him or her into a fighter.

like the saying, a teacher can teach athletic man into a fighter. but a MASTER teacher, can take a coward, or a soft man, with a desire to learn, and turn him into a fighter also. as long as you want to become a fighter, whether you are fat or skinny, mentally tough or weak, the right teacher can bring it out in anyone.