Here is an article I was asked to write by Black Belt Magazine. Maybe you’ll see it in an issue in the future! :o)
Our #1 Martial Arts Goal
By Michael Brewster
Martial Artists get asked all the time:
“Do you think you can beat them up (they point to biggest person in the room)?”
“Can you break that (points to a random tree) with a karate chop?”
And after we show a self-defense technique, the famous “But, what if they (inserts some strange random occurrence)..?”
But we are usually never asked the more important question: What is the #1 thing Martial Artists try to instill in their students?
I won’t keep you in suspense, the número uno trait we teach at our school is being POLITE. From the “Yes sirs” and “Yes ma’ams” to the bowing. From the Character Education lessons to the helping your sparring partner up when you knock them down. The taking your shoes off to the no talking when the Instructor is talking. The goal, as my Sensei said, and end result, is to be a polite person both in and out of class.
Now does that mean that if a student is a polite person, they will never have any issues or have to defend themselves? That punching someone in the face is not very polite, so they can’t ever do it? Of course not. There is a time and place for violence, and we teach them violence. But only as a last resort. Most fights are started verbally, by not controlling mouths, and being polite involves knowing when to shut up and hold their tongue. THAT is much tougher than learning to punch hard or kick high.
We need to change the perception of Martial Arts from the two extremes we think of:
1) Bare knuckle brawlers who are whacking each other with shinai while in a jigotai stance for
hours (the good ol days! :o)
and the opposite
2) $3000 a month Super Ninja Club Members who can’t fight their way out of a wet paper bag because they are covered in patches weighing them down!
To well-rounded individuals who can defend themselves and their loved ones if needed.
Times have changed since we started teaching Martial Arts. Equipment and automation has improved, we work on life skills and not just kicking, dojos are clean, nicer and classes are not just for “macho” dudes anymore. The end product should be the same though. Polite individuals who can handle all that life throws at them!
- Find out more about OKS Martial Arts and Fitness at www.facebook.com/oksforsyth