One of the proudest moments of my teaching career came from a comment one of my students overheard in a restaurant across the street from my school. A couple of senior ladies were at the till to pay for their meal when they were told by the waitress that someone had already paid their bill. One of the senior’s commented “I bet it was one of those kung fu guys across the street. They believe in acts of kindness.”
How great is that? Traditional martial arts are definitely as much about kindness as they are about kicking and punching. The fact that two senior ladies who have never trained in kung fu know this, shows that Silent River Kung Fu’s influence and efforts are being recognized by our community. My responsibility as an educator is to ensure these esoteric values are also recognized and embraced by my students.
The challenge we who train in the traditional martial arts face is not unlike the challenge facing society in general. Many of us make decisions based upon fear and while that is understandable, especially if you feel threatened, it is not always the most logical or productive approach to nullifying a threat.
A person who only trains to fight, will only have one option in a conflict. Kung fu teaches empathy and compassion and It teaches us how to physically protect ourselves. It is the strength of our character and our empathy that gives us the option of resolving conflict without violence, and the wisdom to recognize that option exists.
Don’t weaponize yourself or your children out of fear. There are so many other things that are much more likely to harm us than kick or a punch. We all are getting our butts kicked everyday more by our acceptance of mediocrity, our limiting beliefs, our diets, our poor relationship skills, and our indifference. Don’t train to fight. Train to live.
“The purpose of training is to tighten up the slack, toughen the body, and polish the spirit.” - Morihei Ueshiba (1883 - 1969)