I have thought long about writing this piece, and I've hesitated. Mostly because I know we'll receive some pushback about some of these things. However, I am tired of watching a troublesome minority gain mindshare beyond their size. You see, I believe most martial artists are good people, who simply want to train in peace.
But all too often someone else comes along and wants to rain on their parade. I write this post in the hope that some of us can come together around common language and, in banding together, collectively tell the troublesome few to pound sand.
Which is why I submit this, the first draft of my 6 Martial Arts Freedoms, for your consideration.
6 Martial Arts Freedoms
Every martial artist has...
- The freedom to train what they want, how they want, when they want, where they want, with & from whom they want, and why they want.
- The freedom to remain private about who, what, where, when, why, and how they train, as well as their rank, school, instructor, lineage, and training history.
- The freedom to determine what martial arts is to them, and to embody that for themself.
- The freedom to become better, as martial artists and as people.
- The freedom to take your martial arts training back into your life in the way that you feel is best, including self-defense and protection of others.
- The freedom to compete in a mutually agreed upon fashion.
In the future, we will be rolling these freedoms out publicly, and they may change. Our goal with these freedoms is that they are all-encompassing, and we will not permit the arrogance or opinion of even one person to have a negative impact on others.
Note that there's nothing above that requires anyone to do anything. If you decide that someone else doesn't live up to your definition of martial arts - that's fine. But that doesn't force them to change. In other words, "you do you."