Reading the news or watching it online, you’d think we were a country filled with people who didn’t care about the safety of others. Of course, in the fine print on the back page or way down at the bottom of the media home page are short stories of people who go out of their way to stand up for those who have no voice or aren’t believed when they do speak up. Martial artists have the discipline, respect, and strength to be protectors, warriors who defend the helpless and hopeless.
There was a beautiful video going around for awhile of a young woman walking alone and two male strangers confront and taunt her. One by one, other men, all of different races and religions come forward and encircled the young woman, joining hands to indicate their intent on protecting her. It was powerful. We need to see more of this in our communities and our political leadership. Sure women can take self-defense classes, but those do nothing against a misogynist culture that demeans, abuses, and ignores women on a daily basis.
The respect that is taught first and foremost in martial arts is intrinsic to the practice. What if all practitioners of martial arts, from karate to BJJ to MMA, all stood with one voice and declared themselves protectors of those who need help? What if we were the ones in the video displaying a belief in the value of another human being who was being threatened? Imagine a generation of children raised in the martial arts world who were taught that kind of respect from a very early age. Perhaps then the “rape culture” wouldn’t exist. Women and children would have trained warriors at their sides and in their communities who refuse to allow sexism and predatory behavior to thrive.
If you think things need to change, one small step in the right direction would be to enroll your children in martial arts classes. Then join one yourself. Demonstrate to your children by your own example that everyone, regardless of gender or anything else, is worthy of respect and protection. Martial artists could lead the way here. Let’s get on board.