I’ve spent a lot of time thinking. Stressing too! I managed to get my blood pressure all out of whack again, so there’s that. I don’t intend to get political here, no matter what I say in that realm, I will lose half of my audience. And people are on edge these days too. But I have been thinking a lot.
You see, I’ve been thinking about all of the stuff that is going on, and like clockwork how it sprouted up “organically” around the world. But, I have been thinking. Why is it that in the martial arts, we don’t see the BS that is going on everywhere?
I’m not gonna sit here and claim that I have any answers at all. But I have been thinking about martial arts and what unites us. Think of it as a point of departure for further discussions.
One of the first things that came to mind when I started asking what united martial artists was the shared journey. Young and old, beginner and master, without thought of skin tone, place of birth, cultural heritage, immigration status, political doctrine, sexual preference, or religion, we share a common goal; self-improvement through the martial arts.
The idea of testing ourselves against ourselves. The action of doing this through the process of working with other people on the same path, sweating with other people on the same path, and learning with them as well. These factors transcend any differences we have with each other. I haven’t met a serious martial artist who gave a dusty crap abut the things that make us different from each other. It was always entirely about the journey.
Work and Sweat
I mentioned above, working and sweating with others. It is in this that we see that we are more alike than different. In our journey as martial artists, we all face setbacks and challenges. If it was easy, why bother? When the challenges arise, we find ourselves surrounded by like-minded people, of every category you care to use to divide people, offering encouragement, concern, and earned wisdom. Most people, in their heart of hearts, actually care about the people around them. Most people are not purely selfish, and a whole heck of a lot of us can actually find genuine joy in seeing those close to us overcome obstacles in life.
There are, and always will be bad people. But most people are good. Again, this is without regard to all of the different boxes people like to place themselves in.
And in closing, I would like to add a final thought, and that is Family. In the Chinese Martial Arts, the terms we use for our instructors and higher ranking classmates and lower ranking classmates are Family terms. Sifu is a Father in the school, the students are his children. They refer to one another by terms that mean Older Brother/Sister, or Younger Brother/Sister for those of higher or lower rank. Family.
You don’t choose the people you are related to. But you choose extended family by who you allow in your life. I call fellow martial artists “Brother” and “Sister” all the time. And these are people from every race, religion, and any other way you try to divide people up. They are Family to me.
And because we are a Family, a real Family, I think that we are able to, not ignore, but rather, deem the differences as irrelevant and absolutely unimportant. Because that is what they are.
No matter what we think about what is going on in the world right now, what unites us is stronger than what divides us. That is what is important. Take care of each other.