MARTIAL ARTS ARE variable in their approach to life. Generally they are aggressive and have for their distinct purpose violent behavior. Karate, jujitsu, aikido, t'ai chi chu'an, kung-fu, wu-su, tae-kwan- do, and judo are Asian wrestling forms, however, they are an art of combat and self-defense, widely practiced as a sport.
To learn a martial art usually means that you are encouraged to protect yourself to be able to defend yourself against aggressive action on the part of another. Often knowing such an art encourages offensive action on the part of another.
My friend told me, one evening she came home from work very late, almost midnight. She caught the last bus from town and her stop was the last one before the bus turned around to head back to town.
As usual she was sitting talking to the bus driver unaware that it was so late. When the bus stopped and she bid farewell to the driver, she got off. A man got off at the end of the line too. She walked down the unlit street to her home. She felt a little nervous. So, she turned to the man walking behind her.
"Sir," she asked, "would you mind walking with me along this lonely stretch of road. I would feel so much better?"
The man did not speak, but he walked along with my friend. As she reached her front door she turned to the man and said, "Thank you for walking me home, I felt I could trust in you."
The man bowed his head. Shamefully he said to my friend, "Lady, I was going to rob you. When you trusted me, I could not."
How can we teach the kind of oneness she demonstrated? This is not taught in offensive classes where the more violent and aggressive the actions the better. True, watching movies as the "Karate Kid" and "Kung-fu" we are jaded into expecting these martial arts to be brutal. The martial arts may, in truth, teach gentleness, humbleness and self-confidence. They may, as we have seen demonstrated in some of them, flow gently and express an untouchable peace.
-Dr Herbert L Beierle