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Martial Artist Asks: Can We Devise A Nonviolent Martial Art?


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The founder of our martial arts dojo was fond of telling a story about a 98 pound weakling in high school who served as an unwilling punching bag for the local bullies.

Predictably, he’d be verbally harassed and then pushed around by these toughs, and I suppose, somewhere in the distance our founder may have even been cowering, himself; who knows?

Anyway, one day the jerks picked on this “runt” and something in him snapped. He went totally nuts and started fighting back!

Swinging wildly, but relentlessly, he drove off his attackers and he was left alone from that point forward.

The moral to the story is that the toughest creeps are afraid of people who snap, who act like uncontrollable animals, who are willing to risk all in their own defense or in defense of another.

I’ve given a lot of thought to the idea of developing a non-violent martial art, realizing of course, that excellent training in karate, aikido, and judo, to name a few disciplines, will strive to create a “peaceful warrior,” someone that is less and less likely to be involved in physical battle as his training increases.

The problem, as I see it, is one of fear. Good folks fear too much, and evil doers fear too little.

And I’m not convinced a completely peaceful approach to training will ever turn the tables.

Like blood in the water, the meek attract conflict, and they’re just too tempting, as targets.

I’m going to watch the movie about “Gandi” again, to see how this amazing waif of a fellow changed the world through the practice of nonviolence.

There has to be something he knew or did or both that martial artists can benefit from.

Dr. Gary S. Goodman is the best-selling author of 12 books, over 700 articles, and the creator of numerous audio and video training programs, including “The Law of Large Numbers: How To Make Success Inevitable,” published by Nightingale-Conant-a favorite among salespeople and entrepreneurs. For information about booking Gary to speak at your next sales, customer service or management meeting, conference or convention, please address your inquiry to: gary@customersatisfaction.com.

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  • Posted On January 15, 2007
  • Published articles 283513

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