This letter was written to the Packet in Times in Orillia in response to an article printed on Tuesday January 8, 2008. You can read the article by clicking here.
It was with great dismay that we learned of the attack on Sunday morning by assailants who are alleged to have used “nunchucks” in the attack.
But we were also appalled to read the article describing the attack as a “Martial-arts-style beating” and claiming that the alleged assailant, who is charged with attempted murder, “tore a page form a martial-arts textbook”
There is no such thing as a “martial-arts-style beating!”, and there is no martial arts textbook that advocates such a beating.
It is true that the nunchaku is used by martial artists of several styles (it has many forms and names throughout Asia.) But it originated as a farming implement used to thresh rice or soybeans. So, perhaps you could call Sunday’s unfortunate attack a “farmer-style beating.”
To further this point, please ask yourselves the following question. Since police are the most likely people to carry handguns in this country, would you describe any murder committed using a handgun as a “police-style murder?” I would hope not.
There are at least nine martial arts schools in Orillia. And I am sure that all are equally dismayed by the event on Sunday morning.
As martial arts teachers, we see our profession as a calling to improve the lives of our students and to make the world a better place. Along with teaching practical self-defence, we see the arts we practise as providing many physical, mental and emotional benefits. Beyond that, we actively promote confidence, health, peace of mind, social responsibility, honour, and the traditional martial virtues of compassion, respect, and self-sacrifice.
Our students should be able to defend themselves first by avoiding conflict and the causes of violence. This requires the students to develop an awareness and understanding of their own minds and internal conflict. A calm mind and relaxed body are the first step to developing the body as a weapon. Students who cannot achieve inner peace will never achieve great skill.
Decisive physical action only makes sense when all else has failed. Those who “live by the sword” tend to “die by the sword.” This is a practical consideration, not merely an idealistic one. Strategically, it is not wise to make the first move. But the mind must be trained to recognise when the first move has been made, and intercept it. The violent mind is not capable of making that distinction.
There is no first attack in martial arts. It is not only unethical, it is also simply a bad strategy.
“I have learned that it is the weak who are cruel, and that gentleness is to be expected only from the strong.” -Leo Rosten