Tuesday, December 09, 2008

My Birthday Message to the Martial Arts World

At any moment, on any given day of your life, you can look in the mirror and say, “Today, I chart a new path for myself.”

You can give up smoking or give up eating foods that don’t offer the promise of good health –or you can let go of some hate, some disempowering opinion, some grudge or sour attitude about something that is, in the big picture of life, petty, meaningless, and a ball-and-chain thwarting some aspect of the happiness you seek in life.

At any given moment you can look at someone you live with or near and say, “Beginning now, I will treat you as if you were the Lord God Herself.”
At any given moment you can look at the people you have in your immediate sphere of influence and say, “Let’s do what cannot be done. Let’s live as examples. Let’s attempt something that is, in itself, the perfect example of that which is best about being human.”

You can add to your life.

One hundred push ups and sit ups for health. One hour of training for your head and the heads of those who share the space you train in. Three purposeful acts of kindness. One act of conscious non-consumption. One act of peace towards another human being and/or the planet. Ten minutes of silent and peace-focused meditation.

At any given point this “martial arts industry” could step up and say, “Beginning today, we will represent not only the best-of-the-best in the physical arts of personal self-defense, but we will step up as protectors to the serenity of that little boy and girl, to the peace of the village, to each community we live in, and to the world itself.”

As martial artists we must be able to execute precise, dynamic, and beautifully effective techniques. We must also be able to execute precise, dynamic, and beautifully effective ideas.

We must have a solution to every physical attack that might cause us or someone we love harm ---and likewise, we must have a solution to all of the non-physical attacks that might harm us or someone / something we love and cherish.

Whether it is the punch to the face or the danger of unhealthy anger; the kick in the stomach or the fear and hatred of the unknown or different; whether it is the molestation or rape of the body or the spirit or one’s confidence or the world in which we live and depend on for survival, we can look in the mirror, on any given day, and as martial artists, vow to step up and be the change we want to see in the world.

We are so much more than can be represented by a punch or kick. What takes place in our schools is so much more than the simple act of repelling the bully. What we have the potential to do is so far beyond the name of our style, what billing service we use, our petty differences of opinion, or what can be accomplished in the ring.

In 2009, we could, if we wanted to, demonstrate something about what the martial arts are –and are not –better than any year in recorded history.

We could show how we have evolved from fearful self-defense and/or revenge to holders of the torch of self-defense for the soul –and for the wisdom of co-existence and sustainable living.

I will, for as long as my legs support me, seek to learn and practice a brutally effective form of self-defense, and I will teach those who want to learn, how to defend themselves from physical harm. Likewise, for as long as my legs support me and my thoughts remain coherent, I will seek to learn, practice, and teach a kind of thinking and action that brings about peace and happiness for myself and others.

Tom Callos


Vic Magary said...

Great post, Tom! And Happy Birthday!

linda shipalesky said...

Happy Birthday Coach Tom, Great message!

Jeff said...

Awesome post, Sensei! Hope it was a great birthday!