I know a karate instructor, we will call him Arthur. This is a pleasant man, not imposing in the least. I had the pleasure of working with him at another place that was not a gym. I was able to see him in his daily life. One day, I mentioned to a co-worker of ours that he is probably good at slicing tomatoes because he is a black belt. It was a small joke, but it was my co-worker’s reaction that brought me to an enlightenment. My co-worker was in disbelief and said that there is no way because Arthur is such a nice guy and wouldn’t appear to hurt a fly. Besides the fact that Martial Artists are not scary people and they don’t fit into specific molds, I knew Arthur as a black belt first so it was easy to picture him throwing kicks in his Kimono. I got a little off track, but the reaction of my co-worker caused me to ask a little bit more about Arthur’s interest in Martial Arts.
Arthur was a very forthcoming guy when asked about Martial Arts, it is perceptible that he was probably asked about the subject quite often when he wasn’t at work. He started telling me a story about how Karate was something that he held dear because it saved his life. Not in the sense that some guy with a gun attacked him and a well-placed snap kick jarred the gun loose and he gave the perpetrator a beating; but in the sense that he was a lost soul until he found Karate. Arthur was an addict, a miscreant, a bad father, a bad husband, a “loser”, in his own words. He was a man without vision or purpose.
He found Karate and learned the discipline that he now teaches others.
After he became so involved in Karate, he started realizing the error of his ways. He started to see who was there to support him. He started to see how much his family meant to him and how proud of him they were for turning things around.
This story has a happy ending, Arthur still finds himself doing well. He is a respected Sensei, he is a loving father, and he is a devout family man, and he owns his own catering business. The same way my co-worker couldn’t picture him as a man who has earned the highest belt Karate has to offer, I couldn’t picture him as someone that was not a productive member of society. I don’t feel that this story is the only one like it though. I looked up the subject of “How Martial Arts Saved My Life” and there were so many stories similar. Humility, inner strength, confidence, and discipline were the main areas of salvation. If you find yourself lost in the world and somehow came across this blog, maybe you can just try a martial art and see if it brings you to a better place.