May 26, 2016
When we consider the space that martial arts occupies in the Western world, specifically the United States, it's easy to see the impact. Our movies are full of martial arts-inspired fight scenes. Popular culture lifts up the skilled fighters from the UFC. A man who has been dead for forty years is one of our most recognized icons. Yet, when we break down the numbers, martial arts participation in the United States is around 5 million people, or 1.5% of the population. Compare that to approximately 3.5% globally, and you can see a large disparity.
Why is that the case? I'm sure there are a multitude of factors, but the one we're discussing today is foundational - the attitude that martial artists have for each other. If you're a martial artist, and you've been genuinely criticized for what you do, there's a good chance that criticism came from a martial artist. Within our ranks we have a large percentage of participants that are so concerned with historical accuracy or theoretical superiority that they'll let their opinions create rifts in the martial arts community.
It's not helping anyone and it needs to stop.
On today's episode, we're talking about the ways martial artists cut each other down, rather than lift up. The politics, the infighting, the "my art is better than yours" debates and so on. We explore where these attitudes came from, why they've carried on and how they're hurting us. Later, we talk about how we can move past them and what the impact of just such a world might be.
At whistlekick we have a very foundational belief - that the world would be a better place if everyone spent time in martial arts training. Clearing out this stumbling block - the popularity of what is, essentially, bullying within our own community - is essential to reaching that goal. Thank you for listening and, if you found value in today's episode, please share it with others. Train hard, smile, and have a great day.