In this episode, Jeremy brings you the fourth installment of the question and answer series.
Question & Answer #4 – Episode 237
Jeremy answers these questions from the listeners:
- Why do non-martial artists think that martial arts makes people violent?
- Why is there so much disagreement in the martial arts?
- What would you do differently if you could go back in time?
- How do you define success?
You can read the transcript below or download here.
Hello everyone thanks for tuning in this is episode 237 of whistlekickMartialArtsRadio. My name is Jeremy Lesniak I’m your host, I’m the founder of whistlekick and I’m the one that had the initial vision for all the cool stuff that you see at whistlekick.com I’m not gonna take credit for everything we’ve got going on now but I would love for you to go check out that stuff and see why I wanted some different stuff.
I’m back today with another installment of our question and answer series, I believe this is the fourth one and if you want to have one of your questions answered, you can email me directly firstname.lastname@example.org submit your question and we’ll include it in the next Q&A. If you want to check our social media were @whistlekick everywhere, we’ve got whistlekickMartialArtsRadio behind the scenes that’s our Facebook group you can find show notes for this and all the other episodes at whistlekickmartialartsradio.com we do love to hear from you, I still personally reply to every email that comes in. It’s getting harder I know I keep saying that because it does. It continues to get even harder as I’m pulled in more directions but it’s something that’s important to me and honestly, it’s one of the last things I will let go off as well as the customer service I’m still handling 100% of that because that’s how much I care about it.
Our first question comes in from Jason. And Jason says, why do non-martial artists think that martial arts makes people violent? It’s a great question Jason and I think it’s a fairly simple answer. We can blame entertainment, tvs, movies and this glorification of violence in our culture. People love to think that everyone is either violent or nonviolently, we see that dichotomy if you’re someone who uses social media these days you see that dichotomy all over the place. It’s far easier to paint someone as one thing or the opposite of that thing rather than shades of gray as honestly, I think we all understand the world in shades of gray. Very rarely is one person at one complete extreme or the other because those extremes tend to be philosophical and ideas rather than actualities. And in martial arts we do dabble in violence we practice simulated violence at times. Some schools get fairly violent we talk about the Golden age of martial arts. The blood and guts eras others call it here on the show especially in interviews with some of the older folks that come on and yeah that was in one sense violent. But to me violence is really all about the intent and the idea of getting in the ring or going to training and beating the snot out of your friends, your training partners to me that’s not violent that’s mutual improvement. Hopefully are both getting better, I know that when I beat on my friends. Shout out to Colin who cracked me in the sternum as we were practicing some self-defense just a couple days ago. Were both better for that, it wasn’t violent he wasn’t trying to hurt me but it happened and I feel it, felt this morning when I woke up but to the outside world of people who don’t train they would look at that exchange and say wow that was a violent act. If you hear that commenter if you hear people saying martial arts is violent or martial artists are violent, I would challenge you to step in, have a conversation with those folks. Don’t just jump in and argue, find out why they think that. Have a conversation, educate them, maybe invite the new class. Show them even if they don’t want to participate come see it’s not violent, it’s not about hurting each other. Thank you for that question Jason.
Our next question comes from Erin. Erin asks why is there so much disagreement in the martial arts? And I think what Aaron means and the spelling tells me that that Erin is a woman, Erin, I think the reason why we see disagreement in martial arts is because we see disagreement amongst martial artists and the folks at disagree tend to be the loudest. Because people are different. People love to highlight the differences between each other you know, and this ties into the first question about people wanting to pay people in one camp or the other, but at the same time within martial arts people want to think that what they’re doing is right. They want to believe that they spent the last five, ten, fifty years doing the best thing they could. But when they see something that could be better or even might be similarly beneficial, they can get scared. They can become nervous that they” wasted their time. Now I’ve had epiphanies that that allow me to reflect back on past events and pastimes training and past attitudes toward my training that if those attitudes were adjusted I would’ve had better training, I would’ve progressed further. But I would’ve been able to have those epiphanies without the foundation and that last piece that realization that we are where we are because of where we’ve come from is something that I think and get lost within martial arts. We have people telling us this is the right way, this is the best way, and frankly we’ve talked about that. I’ve done entire shows on that you longtime listeners know my feelings, there is no right way. There may be a right way for you or right way for me but your right way, my right way isn’t necessarily the same and that’s okay. At the same time, we have instructors telling students that what they’re teaching is right or best and it perpetuates the cycle as those students advance and they become instructors, they tell their students that this is the best way but unfortunately, they haven’t experienced other ways. I love having conversations with people about why one thing is better than another thing because I may learn something. I going to those conversations with an open mind even if the person I’m talking to doesn’t have one. I’ll take seminars and train with people who are very staunch in their beliefs that this is the only way, the right way, the best way, and I will generally come away with something. I may not come away with a better way of doing something but I may come away with a way that I know is not better. There are only so many ways you can do certain things, so for me to cross off okay this one doesn’t work for me, this one doesn’t work for me helps me either solidify that what I’m doing works well for me based on what I understand at that time or sometimes it even pushes me towards a new understanding of what I should be doing. There’s some stuff that I’m playing with I’ve hinted at on the show at times and hopefully as we start to roll out video you’ll get to see some of the stuff that I’m working on around biomechanics and in this fusion of principal and learning from cross fit gymnastics etc. But it’s because of training both good training and bad training that has led me into this. To put in a much simpler way cause I think I went on a bit of a tangent there. Why is there so much disagreement in martial arts? Because martial arts is practiced by people and people disagree with each other. I was about to move on to the next question but I had another thought and I want to tack this on. The Internet seems to be changing a lot of this disagreement. It’s certainly exposing the disagreement that is there and yes is given a platform to it and it’s very loud and can be very frustrating. I agree. But I see a shift because the Internet is allowing people to see what other people are doing. I see far more schools teaching multiple styles then I ever did even 10 years ago. We got quite a few people on the show, quite a few guests who as they talk about their martial arts path even currently there training in multiple styles. I’m active in three schools we talked about that. Why? Because I love the way that they blend together. I love the synergy of it works for me and more and more people are seeing that. Just as you don’t eat only one food, it’s okay to train in more than one style, you may receive more benefit from that. And a lot of the” single styles” that are being taught today really aren’t, they’re fusions of multiple styles that the instructors found worked well for them, they created their own style and while traditionalists may hate that concept, it’s proof that those instructors were open-minded enough to take things that they learned from different people who at one time may have said this is the right way, best way, only way and he disagreed and I love seeing that disagreement, because it shows that people are going to think for themselves.
This next question comes in from Tom. And Tom asks, what would you do differently if you could go back in time? Well tom, I’m not sure how far you’re talking about. I’m assuming were talking about martial arts. If I could go back and let’s say take all of the knowledge I have now, and rollback or at least knowing where I was going to get. If I could roll all the way back to I mean, back when I started, there’s very little I would do differently. I really alluded to it earlier the idea that I am where I am because of where I’ve come from. I understand the things that I understand because of the successes and the failures I’ve made this, the mistakes that I made. I look back on some of those mistakes, there are things that I wish I had been smarter to have handled differently but I wasn’t and I know that hindsight there are couple things within the martial arts I wish I had treated a couple people differently during some exchanges and I’m not going to full on say I regret those but I’m a bit more of an open-minded person, I’m a more positive person, I think I’m the kind of person that I was, especially in my teen years. As I think back, being in a brown belt and competing and seeing some success there, there were times where I was a jerk. And I’ll blame some of it on the age, I’ll blame some of it on I guess you know taking home a lot of trophies. You know that that’s it’s easy to get caught up in yourself when you’re a kid and this is the first thing that you’ve done that you get better at or you can see some success at especially when you’re getting bullied at school. I’m not trying to defer any responsibility it’s 100% my responsibility, I could have done things better and differently. But in order to look back and want to change things that seems to imply that that I can’t change to moving forward, I can’t do more moving forward. You know I’ve been really fortunate, I haven’t had major injuries, I’ve learned from my mistakes, I’ve trained with amazing people. And I’m 38, I have lots of time to continue training, to continue getting better and reaching out to and learning from absolutely amazing people. So really if I could go back I would probably do 99% of it the same because I’m happy with where I am now.
Our last question comes in from Ashley. Really simply, how do you define success? Wow. That’s a heavy one. I’ll give you two versions. I’ll give you the short version because it’ll be a little less rambling and the long version may be bit of a ramble. The short version, success at least in the context of whistlekick is leaving the martial arts better than I found it. Knowing that I had some kind of positive impact that as I’m gone or about to be gone I can look back and say, the martial arts and some of the people that practice it are better off because I was involved and I don’t know if I can say that yet. I know there are some individuals who would probably say that I have and I’ll take that to heart and say yeah in that sense I guess I’ve had some success and I’m happy about that. The longer version of course having a true impact, bringing people together, creating or lease fostering a martial arts culture that has less arguing less disagreement. People enjoying the show and having some benefit from that, entertainment but is also learning. People loving the products that we make the ones that I’ve had a hand in creating. Making new friends within the martial arts. Those are all part of my definition of success as it relates to the martial arts. I’ve certainly made new friends I’ve had some success, whistlekick has had success but I’m not gonna say that we’ve been successful. I’m not gonna say I’ve been successful because that implies that the goal, goals that I’ve set out I’ve achieved and I haven’t. Because there’s so much more that I want to see happen. I think back on the teenage me, someone I’ve been thinking about a lot and what I wanted as a teenager is that 13 14 15-year-old that brown belt who just felt so lost outside of the martial arts. When I put on my Gi it was the one place where I felt I belonged, it was the one article of clothing where I walked tall. But the moment I took that off, I struggled. And I want the world to be an easier place for martial artists. When I look at you know folks at play soccer or here in Vermont hockey is really popular, golfers, bowlers, I don’t see people treated as outcasts for those pursuits. Even if their hyper passionate about it. Even if the whole world knows that that person plays golf, the world doesn’t look at them and say huh golf, your weird. But yet a lot of people that don’t have experience in martial arts look at what we do and see us as really weird and again part of this goes back to the very first question in the way that the media portrays martial arts. And that makes me sad because I think far more people would be involved in the martial arts if there wasn’t that perception. People be willing to try it. We know that a lot of times people are concerned about others what others will think of them and if people are worried that their non-martial arts friends will judge them or think poorly of them or even just make fun of them for doing martial arts, they’re less likely to try it. My goal, my big goal as it those barriers break down. I want to see everybody doing martial arts even for a little while. I don’t want to see martial arts take place as one of the more, the prominent and popular activities in the world and rather than something people you know, just kinda casually think of doing. I want it to be something people aspire to. Instead of martial arts being something people fit into the rest of their lives, I want to see more people fitting their life in the martial arts because I’ve seen the benefits, I know how it improves the world and I know how to improved my life and the lives of honestly, every single person I’ve ever had a conversation with that’s been martial artist even for short time, even if it was 50 years ago. When I’m able to look out on the world and know that, that line has shifted even a little bit and I’ll say I’ve been successful.
Remember to write in with your questions, we can do Q&A number five believe it is or maybe this was three, I don’t remember whatever the next Q&A is gonna be, we still need your questions. So, go ahead hit me up email@example.com or reach out to us via social media @whistlekick Facebook, twitter, YouTube, Instagram, those are the main ones that were using. We’ve got the others too, we want to hear from you, I want to hear from you. I wanna know what you think of the show. If you have comments, you have feedback, best place leave them is in the comment section at whistlekickmartialartsradio.com or you can chime in at whistlekick Martial Arts Radio behind the scenes the super not quite secret Facebook group. I want to thank you for listening, thank you for your time as always until next time, train hard, smile and have a great day.