30 Day Challenge/Day 12: Allowing for Compassion

When you think of the Martial Arts and the idea that this is the “Art of the Warrior.” You don’t necessarily think of the term Compassion. However, as Mr. Hancock reminds us often, we train so we can “Be kind because we choose to be, not because we are forced to be.” Compassion is showing or an act that expresses kindness and empathy to others.
When the Senior Ranks were originally considering which qualities that we recognize to be the essence of motivations, it was Mr. Joel Levinson that pointed out the importance of compassion in our training. Admittedly, at first I was a little apprehensive as it seemed to me initially to have a strange disconnect to the concept of self-defense. However, like one of those strange pictures that you look at and initially they are just a blob of colors and then as you focus, a strange 3D image comes into view and from then on you can’t look at the picture without seeing the image. Every aspect of training I could see where being compassionate had a primary contribution.
When working with other members, it is important that Senior Ranks remember their past… when they were lower ranks. They should draw from their own experiences and know they are responsible to defend and protect the weak, the helpless and the oppressed. Where else should they practice this kindness but when working with beginning and lower ranks.
When working defensive patterns against attacks, again it would be important to show compassion and choose less vulnerable targets or alter the weapon so it would not have as much impact. To adjust the intensity and control the action to avoid injury. Again, the design of the “technique” is to maim and injure the assailant. There is no way to execute the moves with a level of intensity that is effective if we don’t show a little compassion for our partner. We must minimize our effectiveness. (See Day 9- Training Relationships)
When training Freestyle (competitive Martial Arts) if we don’t have a level of compassion and sportsmanship, sessions would only end in injury regardless of any safety equipment. If we don’t have compassion for others, we might avoid situations in which we could stand up and defend them, preventing their injury. Of course if we don’t maintain a small level of compassion- (again another aspect of the definition is to relive someone of their distress our assailant(s) probably are in a lot of “distress” and we should be happy to help relieve that for them. (Stated “tongue in cheek.”)
Ultimately, there must be a level of “self-compassion.” An understanding and agreement with “self” that training is an opportunity for us all to be kind to ourselves and our own needs, growth and overall improvement. We held a Gathering a few years back in which we stated that “Every time we move we can choose to heal our bodies or hurt our bodies.” We can choose the level action we do and the level of compassion that they show.