Some people will only “love you” as much as they can use you. Their “loyalty” ends where the benefits stop.
I have honestly started to question whether there is really such a thing as true friendship. So many people, who have pretended to be my friend, have later stabbed me in the back. It seems their loyalty ends where the benefits stop. Once the favors they seek are obtained, their ruse is over.
I was just talking to my dear friend, mentor, and teacher, Sifu Al Dacascos, this week. We talked for a long time, and he is experiencing the same type things with people he thought were his friends, and even his family. It seems loyalty is a trait the very few people in today’s world understand or even care about.
I used to be a total loner, until my books became popular. I learned at an early age that you can’t trust people and that they would stab you in the back if there is more benefit in doing so, than in remaining loyal to you. Then my books became popular and I let me guard down a bit, only to be reminded of the lesson that I learned years earlier. People will only “love you” as much as they can use you. Their “loyalty” ends where the benefits stop.
This is so wrong, especially in the martial arts world! True martial artists should be warriors; they should live the warrior lifestyle. They should live by the code of the warrior. But I have found that this is rarely the case in the martial arts world. Martial artists appear to have lowered their standards, just like the rest of society. What happened to character, honor, integrity, loyalty, and respect?
Confucius taught a lot about the superior man and the inferior man. He used these terms, not in a snobbish way, but as references to people who lived a life of excellence, honor, integrity, character, and courtesy, as compared to people who did not. It certainly appears that, just as Confucius taught so many years ago, the superior man is very rare.
It is time for people to start being men and women of character, honor, and integrity, who live up to their word, whose loyalty to their friends has no limit. This is especially true for martial artists. As martial artists, we are supposed to live a life of discipline, holding ourselves to a higher standard.
But today, mostly what I see in the martial arts world is backbiters, gossipers, people feeding their egos, people tearing other martial artists down, calling others fakes or frauds in order to cover up their own shortcomings, guys buying ranks because they do not have the character or patience to earn them. This IS NOT the way of the warrior! It is the way of the shady con artist, the man of low character – the inferior man!
Without loyalty, respect, love, and honor for your friends, you aren’t a friend, you are a parasite, hanging on for whatever benefit you can suck out of the relationship until you move on. This is not being a superior man, a man of honor, a true martial artist, and it is damn sure not being a warrior! It is simply being another parasitic, spineless, fraud, period.
Be loyal to your friends. Be loyal to your instructors who have passed on their wisdom and knowledge to you. Treat your friends with the utmost respect, support, kindness, and always have their back when others are attacking them and trying to bring them down. Hold yourself to a higher standard than others expect from you.
In the end, what others expect from you doesn’t mean anything. It is how you carried yourself, how you lived with honor, character, and integrity. It is how you stayed true to your own code, which will truly matter when you look at yourself in the mirror years from now. Conduct yourself in a way today, that when you get older, you will be proud to look back at how you behaved, how you treated your friends, and how you walked through life as a man or woman of honor.
I will leave you with a quote from Gracian, “A man of honor should never forget what he is because of what others are.” Don’t let the fact that other people don’t live by a code of honor cause you to lower your standards! Warrior up and live by your code no matter what others do! By Bohdi Sanders