If integrity falls in the woods, does anyone notice it?

11 Jun

Integrity is one of the five formal tenets of Taekwondo. It’s something in which we are supposed to develop as we progress along our martial arts practice and life paths.

In the dojang, we often explain integrity, particularly to kids, simply as honesty and keeping one’s promises. We sometimes explain that integrity further entails elements such as trying your best and doing what you are supposed to do. I’ve explained that it even (or particularly) entails being a good training partner, so that one’s partner is not cheated out of good practice or, worse, gets injured because of one’s action or lack thereof.

This past weekend, as I was reading the essay submitted by a 15-year-old black belt candidate, I came across this explanation of integrity: “Being honest in all your dealings and ‘holding up your end of the log’.” Holding up your end of the log. Wow! Fifty-two years of life and nearly 19 years in the martial arts and I get a revelation, and from a 15 year old first degree black belt to boot! I love when that happens.

In how many ways can one apply that metaphor to life? As broad as my definition or understanding of integrity has been up to this point, that explanation opens up entirely new possibilities in my life of  ever-striving to live with more integrity.

Doing my chores at home. Performing business tasks, including the ones I consider less agreeable, boring or trite, with a greater degree of quality or promptness. Driving attentively or keeping the car in safe operating shape. The ways in which we are called to hold up our end of the log are endless. We live our lives in relation to other people, known and unknown. In each action and each encounter, we are called in some way to hold up our end of the log; how we hold up our end of the log affects not only anyone and everyone who also has a hand on the log, but even any others in its vicinity. A dropped log can be dangerous!

Holding up my end of the log. I am incredibly challenged by it.

2 Responses to “If integrity falls in the woods, does anyone notice it?”

  1. mzznoah June 18, 2012 at 12:46 #

    Integrity is doing all that’s right and good everyday, even when you think no one is looking. That was the explanation I was told at age 12 and it has served me well.

  2. R. Lee Robb July 20, 2012 at 14:10 #

    Is obedience integrity? Does it spring from a robust ego? Do we follow the rules no matter what?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: