Violence. Noun. Defined by the World Health Organization as “the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, which either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation.” So when we say martial arts, this is what many people think about. Possibly followed by certain awkwardness.
You all know this, but it’s a fascinating topic, that the world would be a better place if everyone practiced good and healthy martial arts. What exactly is “good and healthy” martial arts? It should bring practitioners closer to being serene and peaceful, because they know that if worse comes to worst, they have the ability to defend, protect, and use violence.
Vali once told me that “violence is in all of us”, which always stuck. So how does violence emerge? Fundamentally the roots of violence are steeped in fear. Even such things as greed, often associated with violence, can arguably be brought back to fear. At a very young age, children will experiment with these feelings through play-fighting. But alas, as taboo as it is, we often close those doors too early.
In the realm of the martial things really fall apart where ethics, morals, and spiritual development aren’t properly fostered. The Roots methods are to develop integrity, humility, and courage- the latter, which, is not the absence of fear, but how to deal with it. This kind of development takes time and exposure along the Path.
This is an enormous topic, and we have too few paragraphs. The moral of the story is, those who say martial arts breeds violence haven’t studied it. And last, let the haters sleep easy at night, knowing that there is a minority of well-trained people out there who are willing to use violence to protect them.