For the last few months I have opened the doors of our dojo to any family in our community that is having trouble with bullies. Honestly, it has been tougher than I expected. Not from the teaching or education standpoint, but from having to see how bullying is affecting those involved. The stress that it puts on a family being bullied. Seeing the children being bullied come in upset and frustrated about being bullied and very much confused about why someone is being so mean to them. As a man, and a father of three boys it is particularly tough seeing boys come in who have been bullied because as I have been through it myself, and can’t help but to think what if someone was doing this to one of my sons.
It is so frustrating to see bullies who have been misinformed about what it is to be a man, how real men act and behave. Acting out the hyper masculine, ego driven roles that popular culture, and advertisers are so good at selling us.
It’s one of the reasons that martial arts training is so valuable. It gives men a clear picture of what real toughness is, both mentally and physically. It creates a hierarchy that teaches respect for your teachers, fellow students, and yourself. Patience is developed through teaching and working with new students. Humility is learned through round after round with people whose skill is far greater than yours, and having to ask those people to share his/her knowledge with you. A sense of gratitude is formed for all those who have had to support and teach you on your path towards blackblet.
Above all it forges one of the skills vital to become a man that we don’t see on TV, or don’t talk about in locker rooms.
Kindness: A boy cannot become a man without being kind. Without learning the power of giving with no expectation of reward. About helping others who are less fortunate or advantaged as they are. Not separating themselves from those who they consider different, but taking the time to appreciate and learn from others.
Boys seperate themselves into groups based on all kinds of useless criteria like how much money they have, how high they can jump, how far they can throw a ball, etc. Men realize these things are a fleeting as they are useless, and seek to find those people who not only improve their athletic ability but the quality of their character as well. Oh yea, and for goodness sake smiling every one and awhile doesn’t hurt either!
Click here to see a video of a real man in action. I have shared it before and will continue to do so untill I find a better example of what a real man looks like in action. Maybe one of the aspiring men reading this article will tackle a project like this one day (hint, hint).