Training during the second week was subdued. Whether due to the poor weather or the impending national holiday, Andrew did not know. While still valuable, intensity and quality were not at the standard of the previous week. Noticing this, the Shifu, brought it to the attention of the student’s.
Upon receiving the dressing down, Andrew reflected. It is the imperative of a leader to dictate how he wants things to run. His behaviour, actions and control over a group play a fundamental role in how they respond. Over the course of the past week a couple of red flags jumped out. For one, during forms practice, where expert critique is required to fine-tune the subtleties of a sequence of movements, the older Shifu was often distant and aloof. On occasion he used the time to rehearse his own forms.
Another instance that stood out was the banter, which had developed between the young Shifu and Forde. The young Shifu repeatedly made immature jokes during class and then expected the impressionable American to act respectfully and responsibly as soon as the jokes were over.
Cycling through the week, there were a couple of lessons in all of this, Andrew pondered. For one, as a leader, lead by example and set the standard with which you would like your chargers to follow. If the group or individual is out of line, an appropriate reprimand needs to be dished out immediately, not days later. This is why punishing a dog well after an event has occurred is an ineffective means to change her behaviour.
Secondly, Andrew contemplated, have your own standards and don’t let them be dragged down by others. There is always a choice in how you act and behave. As an individual, you must ultimately decide whether you want to lower your standards to fit in with the group.