Self defense leads to character development

I have been involved with Martial Arts for over 44 years and I am often asked to explain, especially with regard to children and teenagers, what values are being espoused by martial arts in general, and by our school in particular. It is certainly correct to expect that learning combative skills must be accompanied by lessons in character development that promote responsible behavior.

Physical skills can lead to a sense of empowerment that, left unchecked, can lead to skewed thinking, abuse of power and a loss of trust.

Whenever we try to discuss ethics, values, or moral right and wrong, I think it becomes difficult because we may believe that we are not qualified to engage in such a noble task.

Who are we, with our own flaws, to presume to preach to others? We despise that kind of hypocrisy most of all. But I take a different view.

As a Police Officer, I have heard fathers about to go to jail, tell their sons not to make the same mistakes they did. While ignorant of the definitions, they were expressing a moral code by saying “stay clean.”

I used to teach professionalism and ethics at the Law Enforcement Academy. I was always surprised to learn how little the cadets knew about such words as duty, respect, honor, loyalty courtesy, etc.

They all thought they knew what each word meant, but were at a loss to define them. If there is only a cursory understanding of these things, how can we expect to live a character driven life? I would like to take some time in future articles to expand on this theme.

Mr. Weber is the chief instructor at the Aikido Academy of Self-Defense located at 16134 North Oracle Road, in Catalina. He has more than 40 years of experience in the Martial Arts and has achieved skills in a variety of disciplines. He also teaches Tai-Chi with classes on Wednesday from 11 a.m. to noon and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Please call (520) 825-8500 for information regarding these and other programs. If you wish, check out the website at www.AikidoAcademyOfArizona.com.

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