The practice of a martial art is very often equated with violence. One learns to hurt and kill other people and other people react to someone who can do this, very often with incomprehension or mistrust.
But violence and love are two sides of the same coin. In each of us there is the ability to love and affection unconditionally and the ability to use brutal violence. Whoever has observed small children knows that these are completely natural behaviour patterns of our species. However, we all learn in the course of our development and education which parts of our behaviour are desired and which parts bring us disadvantages. The investment in us remains the same.
The story of the two wolves in us reflects this very well.
The martial art offers us the space to get to know and tame the anyway existing, violent, wolf in a controlled way, so that no more danger comes from it. I put him “on a leash” and feed him through training. I control him.
So I always have the possibility to decide for the peaceful as well as the violent solution, and I do so consciously.
Only then do I have the FREEDOM to decide for love and peace.
In the following video Jordan Peterson, a clinical psychologist who taught at Harvard for many years and now lives in Toronto, puts it nicely in a nutshell:
In the end we are “slaves” of our built-in alarm system. When it comes on, it floods our brains with norepinephrine and we are guided by our survival instincts.
Let’s take a look at WHEN it starts:
When we’re scared. Fear is the friend of violence. Fear feeds the violent wolf within us.
Fear of physical integrity, fear of loss of social status, fear of loneliness, fear for our loved ones etc.
Fear has allowed us to survive, evolutionarily speaking. We were weak, small, mammals. Prey. The more we evolved, the more aggressive we became. Today, humans are the most aggressive creature on our planet. We have the power to exterminate ourselves, and the entire planet, several times over.
Fear is contrary to our ability to trust others. Fear blocks our ability to truly love.
When someone preaches hatred and rejection, you should always ask yourself what they are afraid of. If we let his fear into our heart, it will poison us.
We can only meet fear with love. Love prevents fear from spreading. If I love someone unconditionally, then he doesn’t need to be afraid!
But for me to really let someone else know that I love them, I must first love myself. To conquer the fear inside me by telling myself
“I am good and valuable just as I am. I am accepted as I am.”
Every religion has this core message for us (and also every psychotherapy).
I am valuable as I am. If I internalize this, love myself unconditionally, then I can let others feel this too. With this I can stop the spiral of fear (and the violence resulting from it).
The ability to fight also helps me to defeat fear. If I know that I can do what I want with my counterpart at any time, then I do not need to be afraid of him. This gives me the freedom to meet him with love, because I don’t have to be afraid of losing my life or my health anymore. He has no power over me (because that is what physical/armed dominance does).
Love defeats fear. Martial arts gives me the freedom to live love, even if my opponent is afraid and wants to use violence in his fear.