Is this an Example of Sinful "Rule-Bending?"


#1

Hello all. I am a member of the [insert area name here] chapter of an international martial arts organization called the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai. They provide credited-classes on my college campus in the campus’s recreational center and me, being a martial arts lover, signed up for it in my freshman year. Eventually, I was inducted into the DNBK itself (I no longer take the classes for college credit which is good because the classes are now a lot cheaper). I have progressed to point where I now wear a Goshinjutsu (Self-Defense) martial arts brown-belt on my waist. My belt comes with more responsibilities and expectations, of course, and my Shihan (local chapter master) reminds me of that whenever I seem to be letting up.

(Please note that most of the following information is from inference or questionable sources. Basically, I am unsure if any of this is true or compelling). The DNBK and the college I attend have had a very tense relationship. I am guessing because the college sees the DNBK as being accident-prone (students may get seriously injured; the college’s gym equipment may be damaged; etc.). So, supposedly, the college has made it a policy that no students are to enter the dojo (really just an average gym studio that was loaned to the DNBK by the college) until the instructor arrives (which is my Shihan). They must also not enter until the time that their class is scheduled to start (I think). This is to reduce risk, I guess. The gym staff are the ones that are to enforce this policy. Because it takes a while to set up the dojo(placing the mats on the floor; getting the martial arts equipment ready; etc.), some students arrive early to practice before class starts, and because Shihan arrives a bit late (not after class is supposed to begin late, but just about to start late), Shihan has tasked one of the black belts to come to the gym staff as an “assistant instructor” so that the staff can provide them access to the dojo and so he and some students can get early access into the dojo. The gym staff have allowed the “assistant instructor” to do this and have been for, I believe, ever since or even before I joined. It is also heavily implied that the gym staff are loosely enforcing the college’s policy because there really have been no serious incidents (no students hurt and no equipment broken). I am not sure if the college knows about this or have provided unannounced and informal consent.

Here is my predicament: As mentioned earlier, I have more expectations and responsibilities, which includes coming in early to help set up the dojo and help the students with their martial arts. I have been doing this ever since I got a sufficiently-ranked belt. But, I recently learned of this “relationship” among the college, gym staff, and the DNBK and now question if I have been violating school policy. I remember Jesus when He says “Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and give unto God what is God’s.” According this, we should respect secular authority wherever it does not conflict with divine authority. I feel that, by coming in early to help set up the dojo and educate the students, I am partaking in legal violations. However, I am also aware that I have a responsibility to my Shihan to do as she says and arrive early. I also feel that I am being scrupulous about this issue. I also feel like I am just trying to find an excuse to not do the right thing and just ignore the whole issue.

What should I do? Would it be morally permissible for me to just do what I have been doing under orders from Shihan? Should I not come in early to respect the college authorities? Should I “wait and see” or should I actively try to investigate the issue so I can get clarification (even if I do this, I still need answers to my previous questions). Is there anything else I should know? I thank you all in advance.


#2

I don’t see what legal violation you could be committing. Trespassing would hardly apply when the agents (of the college) at the site allow it.


#3

The full instructor is responsible to the college. You don’t have any responsibility in this matter.


#4

To St Francis

Thank you for your reply. I know the responsibility belongs to my Shihan, but, correct me if I am wrong, I feel that I am still partaking in sin. For example, say you are in a war. Your commander is ordered by high command not to intentionally kill civilians. All of a sudden, he orders you to kill said civilians. You could just kill them and say that the commander was responsible for following orders from high command, but I am pretty sure it is still not ethical to do so under orders. Do you understand? I know my example seems a bit disjointed from my current situation, but I believe the principle is the same. Of course, please correct me if I am wrong.


#5

They really aren’t comparable.


#6

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.