Sunday, April 6, 2014

Community Service - Why it is important for Martial Arts....and everyone else! you doing enough to serve your community?  Is your life set up in such a way that you are able to work toward your goals, live the life you want to live, and help make the world a better place at the same time?  In Martial Arts Classes we teach the importance of helping others, improving ourselves and our community at the same time.  As an instructor I strive to teach my students that the reason we learn Martial Arts is to make the world a better place, and I encourage them take the skills they learn in the school out into the "real world."  By the time you are done reading this short post I hope to explain why it is important for martial arts students to serve the community, and why everyone (even those who do not practice Martial Arts) should make some changes to their lives in order to help others more.

In today's society, Martial Arts Classes are thought of as a great way to get some exercise, learn self defense and to gain character traits such as respect, honor, humility, confidence and self-discipline, to name a few.  But when thinking about the role martial arts plays in the community, and why community service is especially important in martial arts, we have look back to where traditional martial arts comes from.  Traditional Asian martial arts, the kind that most of us think about, was originally practiced by a warrior class; we think about samurai, Shaolin monks, stuff like that.  These were highly trained warriors who lived by a very strict moral code.  It was their place in society to look after the people, and make sure they were protected against threats such as foreign attack, bandits, etc.  These warriors held a high rank in society, usually right below the status of the royals.  Now fast forward to modern day America.  The chance of a bandit attack in our home town is not something that the common American has to fear, and although the modern day Martial Arts Warrior may be forced to use their fighting abilities to defend themselves or others, the chances of it happening are not what they were back in the day of the Samurai.  But this does not mean that warrior's place in society is gone!  The threats have changed, but they have not vanished.  Instead of fending off bandits armed with swords, now we must fight off the bandits of apathy and selfishness.  People who have no regard for human life or suffering.  The battlefield is now everyday life, and as a Martial Arts Warrior our mission is to help people learn to have compassion for the suffering of others, and one of the best ways to do this is through teaching the importance of community service.  The warrior's mission should be to look after the welfare of the people in our community, and although the techniques we now use may be different than it was a few hundred years ago, the skills martial arts requires still helps us to serve the greater good.

Modern day martial arts instructors and students need to step up into the role of a warrior in society.  We need to attack issues that are plaguing society with the intensity we would attack someone coming at us with a sword trying to cut off our head.  Society needs people to step up into this role; and it is a perfect fit for the martial arts warrior. 

Now you may be saying "But I don't do Martial Arts..."  that is ok.  Although I strongly believe that Martial Arts can improve anyone's life, I understand that not everyone will become a Black Belt.  That being said, anyone can attack the issuing causing our community to suffer.  If everyone made it a priority to design their lives so that they were able to help others in some way shape or form, the world would be a better place.  Try to find ways, no matter how small, to give back.  If you are a business owner, then design systems in your business that will give back to society.  You can give back with time, money, services, smiles, or guidance for people in need. Parents, make sure you are providing your children with an example that teaches them the importance of community service, give them the lessons about the value of helping others.  If possible, follow a path that allows you to have a profession that enables you serve.
Here are a few things that I think everyone can do:

1) Set a certain amount of time every month that you dedicate to helping others.  Here are a few examples, it can be volunteering at the local food bank, leading a class at your school or church, picking up trash, or planting trees in a local park.
2) Be conscious of how your actions affect others.  Are you living in a way that will not harm people and will help better society? 
3) Are you maximizing your potential?  If you are a teacher, business owner, parent, coach, or anyone with a sphere of influence, are you influencing people in a positive way?
4) Spend time on yourself.  If you are unhappy it is very difficult to help others.  Make sure you do what makes you feel good about yourself.  Spend time to improve yourself, exercise, learn, meditate, do some yoga, and don't forget to SMILE!!

If you have any other good ideas on how to better serve the community, please reach out to me.  I am always looking to learn how to do a better job :)  We have to all step up, the time is now!  Lets create a warriors class that rivals that of the Shaolin Monks of old..... Society is longing for people to fill the void and be warriors for good.  Do you have what it takes to be a modern day Martial Arts Warrior?

RJ LoPresti

3020 Old Atlanta Rd
Cumming, GA 30041
(678) 513-5436