In today’s world the martial arts should stand for something more than just ‘punching and kicking’, the lessons learned extending far beyond the walls of the ‘Dojo’. The words posted by Master Tom Callos, a man I have come to respect, on Facebook recently reminded me of the importance of ‘taking it outside the Dojo’. While Master Callos speaks directly to, or possibly at, the Taekwondo (TKD) world, his words apply to all ‘styles and schools’ of martial arts.
“I think one of the tragedies of the modern martial arts world is found in the style battle of tkd —and in its leadership’s inability to unite for something other than competition and stubborn insistence on method and stylized practice.” – Master Tom Callos
A martial artist, and his or her school, should represent more than simple exercise and self-defense learning. Modern martial arts need to be about more than physical, hand-to-hand combat if they are to be of real value to society. Our unified efforts should be in building tomorrow’s leaders and improving the world in which they will live.
“While diabetes, violence against women, discrimination, ageism, the degradation of the environment and our food supplies, war, and any number of other problems fester around us, a million + practitioners are encouraged to kick, compete, and argue over which style is “the original” –and other such trivial pursuits.” – Master Tom Callos
There are so many great things, incredible causes, and critically important efforts today’s martial artists should be involved in and focused on as part of their growth and training. Learning ‘self-defense’ should include learning Anger Management, Healthy Living, Environmental Defense, and many other subjects that help build a safer and healthier community in which to live.
“TKD’s leaders could be winning the Nobel Peace Prize by mobilizing tkd’s army of followers to do something, anything, that might serve the world as it is today —instead, they’re silent and, I think, sadly lost.” – Master Tom Callos
Imagine the impact that could be felt by our world if all martial artists were to focus on making meaningful changes in their own ‘villages’. Forget Nobel Peace Prizes for the ‘Leadership’ of the various martial arts groups around the world. Become a Leader in your own community. If we, as martial artists, focus on what is important in our communities and hometowns the possibilities for a better world are endless. To become effective leaders we all should be working to bring the ‘heart and soul’ of what we do into the world and use it to forge a stronger, safer future. Instead of getting ‘lost’ we should strive to be ‘seen’, not for our athletic prowess, but for our ability to positively impact our world.