Character Chats

Standing Up vs Standing Together

What’s the difference between speaking up versus standing together?

This month, we’re talking about teamwork, and here at True Balance Karate, we have a social-emotional learning program called True Character.

I’m Master H, owner and chief instructor here at the studio. I was a special education teacher for 15 years, and I have two master’s degrees in education. I’ve taken everything I’ve learned in the classroom and applied it to the math to best meet the needs of our youngest students of three and our oldest students of 83.


And this month we’re talking about teamwork.

We started the month defining what teamwork meant, and then we talked about sportsmanship and effort and the positive attitude that that played into teamwork.

And then last week we talked about how there were times that we had strengths and how those strengths could contribute to the team.

Standing up vs together

And this week, we are talking about standing up versus standing together, and there are times that we’re on a team and we need to understand the differences between those two ideas.

Standing together

So let’s give you an example. What do I mean by standing up versus standing together?

All right. We’ve just played a baseball game, and we’re in the dugout, and we were having snacks and we’ve got mitts and balls and baseball bats all lying around, and people have grabbed their equipment, but no one’s cleaned up the trash.

And one of your friends goes, “Just leave it for the next team. They’ll clean it up.”

We could leave it for the next team, or we could stand up to that friend and say, “We should really clean up after ourselves.”

That would be standing up.

And then if the whole team worked together to clean the mess together, now they’re standing together, and they’re working on it together.

And so that’s the difference between standing up versus standing together.

It’s knowing that something’s wrong and speaking out about it, and then having the team stand together to make the correction, to make it right.

How we do it

We have a saying here at the studio, “warriors leave no trace”, and that is true.

So when we’re cleaning up from a kid night out or a party or any kind of event that we have here at the studio, warriors leave no trace.

Everybody knows that that means we’re all going to make sure it is as clean as we’ve left it.

We had a tournament at one point, and at the end of the tournament, we walk through the whole space, and we left the place so much cleaner because we worked together as a team, that they didn’t actually think that we had used the gym. It had been cleaned that well.

Standing up

So as we’re talking about this idea of standing up versus standing together, it’s recognizing when something is wrong.

So let’s go back to that same scenario.

We’re at a baseball game, or let’s change it. We’re at a soccer game now. And we hear a friend talking bad about a player on the other team. “Oh, he’s awful. He’s going to miss this one. He can’t score a goal.”

Are we going to allow that to continue, or are we going to stand up and say, “Hey, let’s practice good sportsmanship. Let’s see what he can do. Let’s cheer for him. He should be able to be as successful as we are.”

Something that will help things out, right? That’s standing up.

Working together

And so our goal here at the studio is to build confidence within our students, that they are able to see what is wrong and speak up about it and work towards making it better, because we really want to make sure that we leave the world a better place than how we found it.

When we’re standing together, we’re working together to get the job done.

We are achieving more when we work on things in the same goal setting mindset.

So for example, I remember when we were taking a family hike, we wanted to leave no trace as we were walking back out.

And my two kids saw a little bit of a wrapper that was not left by us, and they picked it up and took it with him.

And that was just something that we did because we were standing together and making sure that we were cleaning up after ourselves.

At home

Same thing could be said for chores at home.

We all have things that need to be done. Dishes that need to be washed, chores that need to be done, clothes that need to be taken care of, put away, toys picked up.

What would happen if you did the favorite things and left everything else? Would it get dirty, dusty? Would you not be able to find something?

But if we all work together, the job gets done faster, we know where things are at, we can find them later, and we’ve stood together and created a bit more of a bond.

I remember one time we were playing music and having a little dance party as we were cleaning up the kitchen, and both of my kids were laughing and giggling.

And it’s just one of those happy memories that I have, but it made the whole day that much brighter for that moment, if you will, and I just remember them hugging me at the end of having asked them to clean the kitchen.

So when we do things together that way, it really does add to the positivity and the bond that we all share.

Knowing the difference

So teaching our kids the difference between standing up when we see something that’s not right, and then encouraging people to stand together and work together to make it right and be a warrior that leads no trace, that is another good way to teach teamwork.

Thanks, and we’ll see you on the mat.


True Balance Karate was founded in 2012 by Master Sue and Paul Helsdon.

We offer kids karate lessons for pre-school children ages 3-6 and elementary age kids ages 7 and up. These lessons are designed to develop the critical building blocks kids need — specialized for their age group — for school excellence and later success in life.

Our adult martial arts training is a complete adult fitness and conditioning program for adults who want to lose weight, get (and stay) in shape, or learn self-defense in a supportive environment.

Instructors can answer questions or be contacted 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week at 630-663-2000. You can also contact us here.