I was at a tournament last weekend and asked a boy (he was about 9) what style of martial arts he did. He was wearing patches all over his uniform and they didn’t make much sense. Some were Kungfu, some Taekwondo, and some were Karate. So I asked him his style and he didn’t know. I asked him the name of his school. That also was a bust because it was named after the instructor. As the day went on I asked several other students decked out in similar patchwork fashion the same questions and received the same answer.
Later on I met his instructor and found out it was a mix of several systems. No problem. Not my cup of tea but I respect diversity. My only problem was that his students had no idea what they were studying. That to me is like growing up in the United States and not know the Pledge of Allegiance, National Anthem, or Preamble. Oh, wait, ask around most Americans don’t know this either.
The Martial Arts is full of stories of violent deaths caused by the insulting of ones Martial Lineage. Am I showing my age? The day of the Mixed Martial Artist is here but I think that to not know your lineage is to not know who you are. Part of my training included the history of the art. That’s part of what makes Martial Arts what it is. Without history we are a sport for sports sake. The word Martial relates back to the military past that we came from. Our teacher’s teacher’s teacher fought for survival, honor, and love. Not for plastic and metal. He protected his culture, his family, and his life.
To forget that brings shame to yourself and your Martial family. For those of you reading this who are instructors, take a moment, after kicking and playing and laughing to make sure and remember and teach your students were the sport they are playing came from. We are doing a kick and throwing a punch that was practiced a thousand years ago. In the age of Innovation we must never forget our past or we will one day forget who we are.
“Chuck Norris once ordered a Big Mac at Burger King and got one.”