Why do I teach my children martial arts?
I am fairly non-combative person. I don't jump into conflict, and for many years I considered myself to be a pacifist. This is because I take Jesus' words to turn the other cheek and love my enemy quite seriously. At times I have been very convinced that John Howard Yoder's view of violence and war was the last word on the subject, and violence was not something the Christian could enact.
While my views on that are no longer so black and white, I still lean that direction quite strongly.
If that is the case, then why do I teach my children martial arts. I do this for a few reasons.
I grew up doing martial arts and I found that it challenged me in broad ways. It might be trying to kick higher, or punch faster, or break a board, or using breathing exercises, or dealing with your ego when you lose a sparing match. Martial arts challenged me to grow a lot.
I spent time as a kid doing a mixed martial art that was called Zen Karate. I'm not completely sure why it was called that. But, it mixed Shotokan Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Kickboxing, and (on Fridays) we did Jiu Jitsu. I was passionate about challenging myself and learning to do things that few human beings could. This passion continued in university when I took Aikido. It is a fairly non-violent art. There is no sparing and the techniques we learned had a flow to them that were something like a dance. I learned to be thrown 6ft into the air and land in a roll and be on my feet in the blink of an eye. Philosophically, Aikido is about redirecting violence rather that a direct confrontation with violence.
It had been a few years and I wasn't practicing with any kind of regularity. But I missed it. I also knew that signing me and my 3 boys up for classes would break us financially. I saw an ad for the Bullyproof program produced through Gracie (Jiu Jitsu) University-
Rule 1: Avoid the fight at all costs.
Rule 2: If physically attacked, defend yourself.
Rule 3: If verbally attacked, follow the Three T-steps (talk, tell, tackle).
Rule 4: Never punch or kick the bully, establish control and negotiate.
Rule 5: When applying submissions use minimal force and negotiate.