Antigonus, a man of the town of Socho, received the tradition from Shimon the Righteous. He used to say: Be not like servants who minister to their master for the sake of receiving a reward, but be like servants who minister to their master not for the sake of a reward, and let the fear of Heaven be upon you.
So much comes to mind when reading this ancient passage. How many students train only for the black belt, that glorious honor! But this is not the correct way and this is certainly not the way to martial arts excellence. Do not train for the sake of reward for then you will never ever achieve greatness! Do not focus on the black belt but focus on the training. The black belt in and of itself has no significance; it is a piece of cloth that costs a few pennies. Do not forget the ultimate goal – martial arts excellence, real self-defense.
When you become a teacher, then too, do not focus on the reward for you will surely become a lousy, money centered teacher, focus on the greater goal and you will be a true teacher.
and let the fear of Heaven be upon you. This is a major point that I always stress. We are teaching reality self defense, not ceramics or dance. People's lives are at stake. When you teach you must have that in mind at all times. This is what it means have the fear of heaven upon you; to realize the gravity of the situation. You must realize the responsibility you have taken upon yourself. People are coming to you to learn to protect themselves and their loves ones. Never, ever, look at it in terms of your reward or honor. Always realize what is involved here; people's lives, dignity, well being; never take it lightly.