Why you should teach for free..........
I would like to start this by sharing a late realization of mine and how I saw that I was standing by and doing nothing for a cause I really cared about. I have had many friends and girlfriends that have been the victim of abuse or violence. I was starting to think that it was me that was attracting them until I looked at the statistics and saw just how common these horrible things occur. Each time I saw the emotional and physical scars that violence had left, I nearly lost my mind in anger because this was someone I cared about, but I couldn't do anything to help them. The person who committed these acts was walking free, probably doing the same thing to another person, and I had to watch the aftermath or deal with the emotional barriers left. This has been a tender subject for me, I tend to be a very righteous and just person (even though I come across as crazy and a heretic sometimes). Even now I feel myself getting upset because I am thinking about my wife who was the victim of terrible violence by a coward...............he is free and laughing and I have to be careful how she and I wrestle and play so she doesn't break down into tears in fright.
And I know that 99% of all men share my anger towards abusers. But do we do anything about it? I have been thinking about how I want to change the world lately and I knew it had something to do with martial arts since that is what I know best and can teach easily. But as I looked at my school composition, I was horribly ashamed to realize something. I have a solid student base.............but NONE of them are people who have suffered abuse. Due to my views on training and how intense I like to practice, ALL of my students are police or military in background or are martial artists at heart. They are all people who are committed to training hard and eating bitter to become better martial artists and fighters. That is the school I have built out of my comfort zone, but I completely ignored the people who needed martial arts the most! I charge a large amount for private lessons and have lots of classes a week, but have I done anything lately that victims can likely participate in??? Sadly, no, I haven't.
As I thought about this, I remembered all the stock reasons I used to tell people how martial arts could improve their lives, through greater self confidence, better health, etc, etc. The same thing that I know most of the teachers who read this say to their new students. But have we looked at how much MORE important these things are for people who have been hurt? How important a shot of self esteem and confidence could be in changing their lives and letting them move on? That they might start to feel comfortable in their own skin again and be able to have normal relationships and relax in public?
I think the more you think about this topic you will agree with me. We need to offer self defense classes for free to women and teens. I am not talking about anything crazy or a lifetime commitment. But I would challenge all the teachers who care about their students and communities to offer at least one seminar in the next 3 months to the community free of charge. Call every church and social group you know and let them know what is happening. Talk to leaders of support groups and social workers. I think if you make 1 phone call a day sharing what is being offered, you will be amazed at the response you get. I felt so bad when I saw how I had let people in need down that I made a commitment that I will be doing this every month for 1 year, I already have my location and network lined up to share the details. If you are one of the amazing teachers out there who already do this, I give you my utmost respect and appreciation for your help. And if you can join me in this challenge, I won't be able to express how much I appreciate your support. I hope you chose to join me. Either way, please keep your family safe and share what you know with the people who need it most.