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Kindness & Martial arts
In times of crisis, such as the current coronavirus pandemic, a little bit of kindness goes a long way. Like so many businesses, Premier Martial Arts took a hit and had to close its doors. The impact and the shock from this is hard to describe, particularly the uncertainty it bought to staff and our future. So, to those of you who showed your kindness and your much needed support to us at Premier Martial Arts, THANK YOU. You will never truly know how much it meant to us, to have you stay connected with us during this time, to receive your moral support by encouraging us to stay positive, and for having faith in our business. Your kindness has been a blessing, and all of us here at Premier Martial Arts want to acknowledge you and your families for this. We wish you a boomerang effect for the blessings you sent us when we needed them most.
By staying with us from the moment Premier Martial Arts closed its doors, to recently when we have started to slowly re-open, you’ve helped us stand and walk again, so once again, thank you for your loyalty, your faith and for your support. You know who you are, and please know that it is recognized and very much appreciated, by all of us at Premier Martial Arts. We are humbled by your kindness, and in the words of someone who believes in the positive energy of Random Acts of Kindness, please know that “Kindness is free to give, but priceless to receive”.
So let’s look at how kindness can be learned through martial arts. Even though kindness may feel a little out of place in the martial arts arena, students are in fact taught that the journey toward a black belt requires strength of mind, body and heart. This means that martial arts instructors must not only teach techniques, but also develop students’ understanding that kindness and respect are an essential part of their martial arts training.
During their own training, martial arts students are often called upon to help other, less advanced students with the development of their skills and their self-confidence, to assist with chores such as setting up and collecting equipment, to model respect toward their instructors, parents and their peers for the benefit of new students to observe and develop the correct attitude toward others, and to help others get up when they fall either physically or emotionally. Martial arts teach students to be humble about their successes and non-judgmental about others’ failures. A main focus of martial arts is to teach the importance of supporting each other, in fact the fabric behind the teachings of martial arts is to assist students to become well-rounded individuals who contribute positively to society.
Training in the martial arts puts a big emphasis on discouraging bullying. Martial arts programs promote and encourage respect, safety of self and others, and camaraderie, by teaching students to understand and honour each other’s differences. These are all traits that help students to learn not only to tackle bullying but also not to fall into the trap of becoming a bully.
On the surface, it seems that martial arts is just a combat discipline that teaches you how to fight, however if you look deeper, you’ll discover that martial arts is so much more. Apart from teaching respect and integrity, the martial arts also teach the value of compassion, and in learning to have compassion for others with whom students train and spar, they inadvertently learn to extend this to their own personal lives and to the lives of others outside the martial arts school.
Once compassion starts to be instilled in students, martial arts can then demonstrate that kindness can also be part of a combat discipline. This is mainly done through the following basic principals:
- Teaching how to protect yourself and your opponent or sparring partner.
- Using your power for the greater good, by instilling the knowledge that “those with great ability also have great responsibility”, and therefore power should never be misused for personal gain at the detriment of others.
- Teaching respect for everyone’s life story and journey, and to extend help to those who need a hand in reaching their highest level.
- Teaching humility and respect, in order to open awareness to the fact that today’s winner may need to be lifted to their feet tomorrow. In other words, as American writer, Robert Ingersoll said:
“We rise by lifting others”.
At this point, I think it’s appropriate to finish this discussion on Kindness, by quoting a Master of kindness, Mahatma Gandhi: