Trust but verify. This is a phrase I quite often use. We often place a certain amount of trust in people. Most of the time you trust your family and close friends and then there are the people you'd like to trust. I expect most students trust their Instructor, otherwise, they wouldn't be training with him or her. But verifying is not necessarily about trying to find out about people telling untruths, it is about whether the material presented to us is absolutely correct. Whilst we place trust in what is shown and taught to us we need to approach our martial arts in a scientific way by verifying the information. Knowledge can sometimes be distorted or may be somebody else's version of the facts.
There are many ways information can be distorted. Those who have not heard of 'Chinese Whispers' it is a game where the first player whispers a phrase or sentence to the next player. Each player successively whispers what that player believes they heard to the next. The final part of the game is when the last player announces it to the entire group which is significant different from the first. If everybody believes what they hear is exactly what the other person has heard then we may be misled. This illustrates how martial arts techniques can be tarnished if subjected through the same process from one person to another.
Trust can be a lesson in life if it misleads individual(s). However, you need to trust and you need to be trusted, that's what separates us from the animals. You don't need to be paranoid, there are people in the martial arts who you have complete faith in because they have earned your trust. If you are not sure … you can always verify! Trust me on this one.