I have just started a Hwa Rang Do course in a very good martial arts school. The other day my instructor found out I'm a smoker. He first told me that smoking is a terrible practice and I should quit. He then said, "Smoking is so terrible that for me it's no difference than finding out you cause violence on a disabled person."
I felt very offended and I said, "Look, I understand your point of view on smoking and I respect it. I also understand if, as my instructor you would suggest me or urge me to stop, but you are not seriously comparing violence on a disabled person with smoking are you? Because I would never hurt anyone, especially a disabled person."
And he said, "No, it's the same to me. You are at the same level as someone that would kill a disabled person. It's just my point of view."
I felt appalled, offended, and yes, angry. As my instructor I respect and trust him, but I can't possibly accept a personal offence such as this one. If everyone were to defend their accusations of violence as "their point of view" everything would be far too easy... I never judge anyone, I never cause any harm to anyone, I myself suffered from violence and bullying (one of the reasons I decided to join in the first place), and this sort of behaviour from my instructor hit me hard. I now feel angry and sad and I just want to quit. I love my course, I love martial arts, but I'm not sure if I can stand even being with him in the same room. To me, respect is everything and I just feel like I'm now going to be bullied and shamed by everyone in that gym (I forgot to mention the others listened to the whole thing). Before leaving, he saw the disappointed look on my face and said to me, "Don't judge me."
I said, "I'm not, I'm not judging you or offending you personally. You did and I feel awful." He continued to say he didn't, that it's just a point of view and that's it. I had to leave, I felt nauseous.
What do you guys think? What should I do or say now? Do you think what he said and how he behaved is justified? I'm new to the martial arts and I don't know if that's a "reasonable" behaviour to have. But aren't we first and foremost human beings? And isn't maybe respect a core value of martial arts?