Ego and the Humble Student

be humble and accept help

Keep your ego in check. Don’t permit the beast of vanity to create emotional openings. The humble warrior can see a fight for what it is. A warrior who believes his rhetoric must constantly alter the battle to prove his delusional beliefs. Ego leads to self-deception, which leads to defeat.

Let the world be your teacher. The true master is always a genuine student. A student is a student until he becomes a master, then he is just a student.

Rank can lead to a bloated ego. I’ve seen many great instructors allow their ego and position to cloud their judgment. They often call others loyal to them without showing or being faithful to their instructor and students. You can only expect from others what you do.

Rank means nothing. Skill in the arts is more critical than stripes on a belt. If you show a “Black Belt” attitude in your efforts and endeavors, that demonstrates more mastery than someone who brags about their accomplishments does. The best martial artist I know all practice in the corner quietly, always seeking improvement over political maneuvering.

Your actions show your true abilities. The cloth on your body only signifies the responsibilities awarded to you by your instructor. Increased rank demands more humility because you have an increasing obligation to pass on the art and give back to the community.

A sign of humble

Humility and kindness are the most significant characteristics of a martial artist. You are kind to those who need it—helping those in need. Anything to help your community is the goal of the martial artist. The most visible way to help the community is in the physical defense of your town. When that opportunity is not available, you help with cleaning, washing, feeding, and building. Give of yourself to your community.

You’ll reap the rewards in quite ways, meaningful ways. Letters from former students detailing how Kempo has changed their life for the better bring tears to my eyes. I want to help others feel good and desire to help others. Standing on a podium, proclaiming your fighting prowess will never produce the rewards a true warrior seeks.

Allow yourself to remove your rank and travel the world as a no belt.


  • Bryan Bagnas

    Master and Founder of Golden Leopard Kempo Martial Arts School, teaching Philippine Combatives, Karazenpo Go Shinjutsu, Combat Kickboxing, Hawaiian Shaolin Kempo, and Self-Defense to San Diego students for over three decades.

    View all posts