The desire to change the world seems to be a defining characteristic of modern martial art teachers. We aren’t in the business of “training fighters” anymore. Our business is the health and wellness of the human system. In other words, we don’t limit our concern to the health and wellness of our students, but of the communities that they are part of, the cultures to which they belong, and ultimately the species of which they are a part.
And since this is our focus as teachers, we tend to attract students with similar ideals.
Self-defense is a huge concept. If you’ve read my blog, you know this already. Let me sum it up for you for the sake of discussion.
The accepted idea of self-defense is taking care of yourself when someone tries to cause bodily harm. We can also consider ensuring that our bodies are as healthy as possible an aspect of self-defense. A healthy body is better able to deal with people with bad intentions. A healthy body is also likely to live longer, to stave off death as long as possible. Since we live longer if we’re part of loving, healthy relationships, self-defense can include deleting toxic people from our lives. Aside from our basic needs of food and shelter, we all know that there are other needs that, gone unmet, make our lives less fulfilling. Self-defense includes living a life of meaning and purpose, finding our place and making a difference in the lives of others.
Changing the World
When I think of changing the world, I usually think of things like raising money for poor, oppressed villages, giving food or clothes to poor people, or maybe raising awareness of some cause or another. As a martial art teacher, I want to simultaneously expand and contract these ideas. Our focus should expand from this myopic tendency to chase causes and focus on what we can do personally to offer the widest possible benefit.
Problems like world hunger exist not because of a shortage of food, but because of people. Obviously, it’s a complex issue, but it boils down to bad guys doing bad things. Why is that?
What about the problem of human trafficking? Bad guys doing bad things.
Bad guys doing bad things.
We get the life we train for.
I’ve noticed a recent trend online to call people who see things differently than you a “sheep”. Somehow, if people hold different opinions, we feel justified in name calling. Sheep and sheeple (an attempt at cleverness) are meant to denote the opposition’s docility and refusal to see the truth.
Name calling, disparaging remarks, and jokes at your opposition’s expense are never going to change minds or circumstances. If you truly want to change a situation, work hard to change yourself. We need to understand that if one of us has a problem, we all have a problem. Our connections with each other go beyond interpersonal relationships. We may have biochemical interactions with everyone that we meet. We connect with them, and maybe even become entangled with them on a subatomic level. The injunction to “Love your neighbor as yourself,” truly engenders the epitome of self-defense.
I want to change the world, not because the world is “bad”, but because there are people doing bad things to good people. I want to train people to take charge of their lives, be conscious in their decision-making, and stop living like passengers or bystanders. I want them to embrace the warrior mindset that says YOU are in control of your destiny.
The quote from Gandhi above is disputed, which is why I didn’t use the whole thing. What he definitely did say is this:
If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.
As an indisputable part of the complex tapestry of the world, the fact is inescapable: if you change yourself, you will change the world.
Agree? Disagree? Want more information? Let me know.