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  Where has all the Courtesy Gone? August 10, 2006

Steve Truscott
Owner and Master Instructor


Walking through the mall you see just what you want in the store window and, feeling pleased, walk into the store. In the store no-one greets you. You walk around until you see a couple of young people who apparently work there. They do not look at you, much less assist you. They continue their conversation with each other. When they cannot ignore you anymore they look as though they cannot imagine why you are bothering them.
A simple purchase has suddenly turned socially awkward. You are much less pleased, much less motivated to buy, and wonder "where has all the courtesy gone."

Seventy-eight year-old Gloria Vitale tells me that growing up in Alabama every merchant or shop assistant would never fail to address her as "Ma'am" or "Miss". Everything changes, but the decline of civility is a change that leaves us all colder and poorer.

My martial arts instructor, Master Chuck Hawkins, always told me "courtesy is the currency of civilization." Having traveled through and lived in over two dozen countries, each with its own culture and etiquette, I can attest that a respectful attitude and courteous behavior is the passport to goodwill the world over.

The Book of Proverbs says "A soft answer turneth away wrath," and courtesy can be the most powerful form of self-defense by disarming someone acting rudely, or de-escalating a verbal conflict before it turns violent. There will always be those among us whose deeds are so egregious they must be stopped by any means. Stopping these dangerous actions is an act of courtesy to us all.

How can a martial arts instructor influence a student towards courteous behavior?
1. By consistently modeling politeness
2. By partnering with parents and educators to reinforce good manners
3. By deliberately and systematically teaching respectful behavior, such as:
Expecting them to say "Yes Sir" or "Yes Ma'am" to every instruction or query.
Insisting that they politely say "I beg your pardon" rather than ejaculating "What?"
Requesting that they hold the door for others - especially seniors, such as parents.

Of the five ancient tenets of Tae Kwon Do, courtesy is the first. If you do us the honor of choosing Family Karate to teach your children or grandchildren we promise to influence them towards courtesy. Please call or e-mail me for a complimentary month of classes for you and your family.
And ... the next time you are at the Mall I hope you will be served by a courteous young graduate of Family Karate!

Steve Truscott is the Principal of Family Karate and can be reached at 746-0983 or Family Karate has been strengthening families in North County for over 35 years. Family Karate currently has campuses in Escondido, 4S Ranch, Penasquitos, Solana Beach, and Sorrento Valley. Your complimentary lessons are also available through Family Karate's website

Steve Truscott, the son of missionaries, was raised in India, educated in British schools. His first language was Marathi, the language of west India, his second was Hindi, third was English. Today he is only fluent in English but understands the other two languages. Family Karate has five locations in San Diego County with over 1000 students, 250 in Escondido alone. Respect, Responsibility, Courtesy, Integrity, all are taught first, at Family Karate. Call 746-0983




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