To have training and knowledge is to build confidence it gives you a true inner power. Something that you can reach deep down inside of yourself and grab onto when the going gets tough. That is what I am going to talk about today. But first I have a question for you as readers.
If I told you that for the next 12 years or so for 8 or 9 hours a day I was going to send you to a place that would give you a regimented system of subjects in the arts, english, mathematics, sciences, your nations history, hands on trade skills and life skills for both your current home life and your future. you would be taught, drilled and tested on these subjects and expected to rise to a certain level of standard and that theoretically your results would have a major impact on the rest of your life and all of this would happen under the eyes of a trained administrative body designed to watch over you, teach you and in theory protect you while you were at this place.
At the same time in between or even during these academic subjects you would be exposed to without any warning and at a moments notice a variety of very challenging issues not related to these subjects of learning such as social circles, rumours, deceit, mental manipulation, peer pressure and downright violence
And you will have to adapt or overcome all of these issues while trying to learn the subjects you have been tasked with and at the same time adapt to your own personal growth, emotional and physical changes.
And what if I told you that the administrative body from before would in your eyes provide the bare minimum level of assistance to help you solve these issues? And you have to go there every day for five days straight and then they would give you two days off to recover and then throw you right back into it for another five days.. over and over for the next 12 years.
It sounds like some kind of prison sentence doesn't it? or just some twisted experiment but for 64 percent of our youth in this country. That is their school experience.
Here in Canada and for that matter many other countries around the world there are easily hundreds of thousands of youth and adolescents who will face a level of violence, harassment and intimidation on such a regular basis with no true warning or preparation just by getting up and going to school. Some of these kids will develop emotional trauma from this, some may commit suicide from these events and a rare few may even lash out and kill because of these issues.
And what if I told you we could do something about this? As a child I was sheltered from violence in my youth while at the same time being exposed to violence both at home at the hands of a parent and at school at the hands of "the bullies" which at times felt like it was the entire school. Not knowing how to cope with this constant hammering my reaction would be different with each encounter ranging from running away, fighting back, crying to just uncontrollable screaming at the constant never ending hit of this wave of violence and aggression.
I had no outlet no coping mechanism no moral support my entire time in this system and it was not until I had grown into adulthood and moved out into the real world that I found the thing that saved me.
Martial arts saved my life. Not by teaching me how to fight or how to harm people but by teaching me to endure anything, teaching me discipline, teaching me my own self value and giving me a family that I can look to for support. A family from all walks of life regardless of Gi or belt colour, style or system, race, gender, creed, sexuality the only thing that matters when you put that Gi on, the only thing they look to you for is your willingness to learn, train, roll and grow as a person.
I am sure most people who have had even basic exposure to the world of martial arts especially the mixed martial arts community know about the Gracie Family. In case you dont I will simply say these people are like royalty to our community. an unbelievably long line of martial artists in the study of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with several high ranking masters and world champions in a variety of leagues. Here is a video from Rener Gracie talking about the program the family has developed called Bully-proof which has taken off like crazy and gained a HUGE amount of support.
I strongly encourage any parents and martial artists to support this program. Teaching your child a martial art is not about teaching them to fight it is about teaching them to unlock that inner power deep down inside of them