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Martial Arts Masters – Black Belt Warriors for Peace

Dr. Webster-Doyle’s work on peace promotion and solving conflict nonviolently, especially for young audiences, is ground breaking and brilliant!

Dr. Michael D. Knox, Chair, US Peace Memorial Foundation

Martial Arts Masters – Black Belt Warriors for Peace

Learning the Martial Arts Takes Time

To my students,

The young man was approached by an old warrior.

"What will you do to escape my power?" asked the old warrior.

"Nothing," replied the young man.

This book is about martial arts that are for peace.

It will teach you to resolve conflict peacefully, which is the true intent of all martial arts. It will also introduce you to the Martial Arts Code of Conduct, which all martial artists for peace have to understand in order to master these arts.

What is written here may at first seem difficult to understand. That's because it's probably new to you and like anything new it takes time and effort to absorb. If you are serious and want to study the martial arts to be a Black Belt Warrior for Peace then you will have to practice. Learning the martial arts takes time.

But if you keep at it, one day you will completely understand what is being said here. As you come to understand, your life will change for the better. This is because the martial arts that are for peace are meant to help you in your everyday life—to resolve conflict, to build character, and to create peace.

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Defeating the Bully, The Smart Way

I want to tell you a story about Henry. Henry was a bright young man who went to an ordinary school in an ordinary town. And what happened to him at school was also ordinary, for we know that what happened to Henry happens to many young people in schools all over the world. But the out-of-the-ordinary thing Henry did was to get help. 

It was just another day at school when Henry saw them again, the three jocks that bullied him constantly. Henry felt that knot in the pit of his stomach and the rage that started to boil up from deep inside. But he couldn't do anything. Henry wasn't fast so he couldn't run away from them. He wasn't big enough to stand up to them, especially since there were three of them. All he could do was to take it, like he always did. They would take his money, punch him, and sometimes even stuff him into his locker, which really hurt. But what hurt even more than being so badly bullied was that no one seemed to care. Everyone just pretended that nothing was going on. 

Henry's stomach knotted tighter as he saw them coming closer. But this particular day Henry shut his eyes for a moment and imagined what he would really do to those bullies if he were tough enough. In his mind's eye Henry could see himself standing there looking confident and strong, like a movie hero. Henry watched Rambo and other action movies constantly, and had been dreaming about his revenge for a long time. He couldn't wait until they tried something. 

Henry imagined the bullies about to grab him when all that pent-up rage came out in a flashing sidekick to Randy, the biggest jock. The powerful blow would send Randy staggering backward. Henry would then step up quickly and hit Randy with a reverse punch to the midsection. Randy would fall on the ground groaning and asking for mercy. Then as swiftly as Henry defended himself against Randy he would turn and with the swiftness of a tiger strike Tyler with a spinning hook kick. Tyler was another jock lineman who never showed mercy to anyone when playing football. He would spin around from the kick's impact and Henry would go after him with no mercy, just like the bullies did when they picked on him. The third bully was Jake, who by now would be standing there looking shocked and scared. Henry would advance quickly toward Jake, who would retreat rapidly. Henry envisioned himself standing there in a powerful combat stance looking at his conquered foes. "I'm in control; they're defeated," he thought. "They'll never bother me again!" Henry would feel proud, a champion, the cool action hero who dealt swiftly with his enemies, the kind of person he had always dreamed of being ... 

But Henry had been watching too many action movies, and had a vivid imagina­tion. A strong hand on Henry's shoulder suddenly yanked him out of his daydream. 

"OK, punk. Where's the money? You owe me big time, with interest. Let's have it," the threatening voice commanded. 

Randy was staring Henry down. Randy was big and mean, and had told him before that he hated wimps like Henry, a nerd who didn't play sports but would rather read books. Henry closed his eyes again, but this time he was waiting for the beating he knew he would get and couldn't do anything about. 

"Hey, guys. What's happening?" A cheery voice came from behind the three bullies. Henry opened his eyes to see an older kid whose name was Lamar Jackson. Lamar was only thirteen, but big and tall for his age. Henry didn't know him well since Lamar was two grades ahead of him, but he had heard that Lamar studied martial arts. 

"What's it to you?" Randy and his pals turned to look at who was talking to them. 

"Just wanted to tell you what a great game that was," Lamar went on in a friendly but powerful voice. 

To Henry the moment seemed frozen in time. There he was, being held down by the strong arms of Randy and his two pals, while all four stared intently at this guy who had just butted in as he was about to take a beating. 

Lamar then walked right up to Randy and put his hand out. "I'm Lamar and I know who you are. I've watched you play ball. You're really good. Saw the game with Harrison. That tackle you made saved the game. Really cool." Lamar spoke in a calm and reassur­ing manner. "And you're Tyler, and you're Jake. You guys are awesome too! I really like football but I don't have time to go out for it since I'm taking martial arts classes most every day. Going up for my first-degree black belt this summer. Anyway, you guys sure are fantastic athletes," he continued on in the same casual and confident way. 

Randy, Tyler, and Jake were obviously pleased with the compliments Lamar was handing out. Randy's grip on Henry relaxed, and for the moment the bullies forgot all about him. 

"Man, what about the game with Saunders? Was that amazing? How did you guys win that one? They were one tough team. Coach must really be proud of you. And I'm sure he thinks you're great, you know, good sportsmen, like having good school spirit, being models for all the students who look up to you. Everyone looks up to you guys for being leaders. I know all the younger kids really admire you. You guys are their heroes. Come to think of it, that's a lot of responsibility, being looked up to," Lamar went on. 

"Yeah, it's pretty neat to be looked up to by the other guys," Randy said looking all puffed up and proud. He noticed that some kids were stopping to watch what was hap­pening so he let go of Henry. 

"Well, it was cool meeting a fan," Randy said to Lamar, not even taking any notice of Henry anymore. "But we can't stand here yakking all day. We have to get to practice, so see you later," Tyler and Jake looked toward Henry for a moment but he could see in their eyes that now he wasn't even worth their attention. 

Henry saw Lamar the next day at lunch. He wanted to thank him for what he had done. As Henry came up to him, Lamar turned to Henry in that same friendly, casual way as before and invited him to sit down. 

"Mental martial arts," he said before Henry could even thank him. "It's the only way out of a situation like that. I couldn't help you get away, so I got them to back off by using my brain instead of my fists, by talking our way out of it."

"You mean that was the martial arts?" Henry answered with astonishment. "Say, are you really going up for black belt? Could you kick their butts? I sure want to. I want to be like those action film heroes-do some flying kicks and knock them into tomorrow. I've seen them do that in the movies. It's really cool." 

"No, not cool. That's not real martial arts, and they're not real martial artists, just a bunch of actors pretending to be tough. That's Hollywood. Make believe. A real martial artist is for peace. A real martial artist's goal is to stop conflict, not to fight." 

"But that's not what the movies are about. They show the good guys totally wiping out the bad guys. The bad guys deserve it, don't they? I mean, it's an eye for an eye." Henry replied. 

"C'mon, lots of people do something bad at one time or another. That doesn't mean they deserve to be killed. And real heroes don't always have to kick butt-there are lots of ways to defeat someone without bloodshed. But that doesn't thrill people, it doesn't sell. The movies are setups. They make the villains super mean and evil just to get you all worked up, to make you feel angry and afraid. So when the hero comes along and wastes the bad guy you feel better. The bad guy deserves it, so you feel good that you got revenge. But real life isn't like that. Do you really want to hurt Randy? No, you don't, you just want him to respect you. So you've got to work it out somehow, to get his respect. But movies that show other ways of resolving conflict aren't exciting.· The peaceful hero is seen as a wimp; the violent hero everybody thinks is cool. 

"What we need is a Warrior for Peace, someone who is seen as really powerful and brave, but who uses his brain to stop conflict. He may have to fight sometimes but since he's a skilled fighter he'll do less harm than an untrained fighter-he'll know just how much force to use in each situation. Most of your action heroes use extreme force when they could just as easily use little or no force. But in a society where aggressive people always seem to wind up with the most power and money, it's hard to get respect for peacefully fighting injustice. 

"Do you know what injustice means?" Lamar spoke with feeling, "It means not act­ing fair. Like treating people who seem different unfairly, maybe because of the color of their skin, or a physical handicap, or because they come from another country, or even kids like you who get bullied here at school just because you're a good student. That's prejudice. That's what creates violence."

"Whatever the reason, I hate being picked on;' Henry responded to what Lamar was saying. "But I know what you mean about too much violence. It's like all those schools where shootings happened-some kids just lose .it. They get revenge on the bullies but kill a lot of innocent people as well. That's really terrible. I remember one kid saying on TV that if you push people like him they push back. I felt sorry for him and the people he hurt. 

"So what can I do about it? If you hadn't come along those bullies would have just beaten me up like they always do. You're the first person who ever helped me. The teach­ers and the principal pretend like they don't see what's really going on. I think they're afraid of the bullies and afraid of what their parents might do if they were kicked out of school. Those guys get away with murder because they're good athletes. I don't think that they would even be punished if they really busted me up. Their parents would prob­ably get lawyers to get them off. I just wish I could get back at them and show them how bad it feels."

"You can beat those bullies by learning the martial arts, martial arts for peace, that is," Lamar interrupted. 'Tm not talking about the martial arts you see in those video games with all the blood flying and stuff. And not the martial arts in those stupid action films, which is just more violence. Ever see reruns on TV of that show Kung Fu? It's about a kid who grew up in a Chinese temple, like a church, but where they taught martial arts. His teachers called him "Grasshopper" but his real name is Kane. When he leaves, he goes to America and wanders around the old West, which was a pretty tough place. Kane knows how to fight but more importantly he has learned how to stop conflict without using force. Except for one time when he killed a bad guy who has just killed his teacher, he stops people from hurting him and other people mostly by nonviolent ways. It's really cool because he's truly a Black Belt Warrior for Peace, someone who's strong and brave and uses physical force only if he has to, if there's no other way. He fights against injustice and helps people like you who are being picked on by bullies. He can do this because he learned special skills to stop bullies from hurting others," Lamar went on in an excited way. 

"I wish I could go to that temple or whatever in China and learn what he did," Henry said in a sad tone of voice. 

Lamar laughed, "You don't have to go that far, Grasshopper! Look, I'm taking classes at this awesome martial arts school in town. You can go there too. I've been at it awhile, so you wouldn't be in my class, but I'll take you there and introduce you to the head teacher. He's really cool. He'll want to interview you first, though. He doesn't take people unless they're serious. A lot of kids just want to kick butt, or win trophies at tourna­ments, but what they teach at this place is different. You'll see." 

Henry didn't have to think about it for a second. "I suppose I have to ask my mom and dad first," he said, "but I'm ready to start. Wow, thanks!" 

Later that week Henry went with Lamar to the martial arts school and began a jour­ney that would change his life for the better. 

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