We have met many students, and families throughout the years that have shared with us the reasons why Martial Arts has been useful to them, and their loved ones. One of the stories we remember the most is of our student Nikhil.
Nikhil has been training in Martial Arts since he was a little boy. He started at the age of 7 with his friends, and did it mostly for fun. He never really needed to use karate for any reason other than as a form of exercise.
One day, when walking around school, Nikhil encountered a group of kids sitting outside campus. They were there not really doing anything, simply sitting outside by the benches. As Nikhil was leaving, they noticed him walking by on his way home. One of the kids looked at Nikhil and said “hey, I like that belt”, referring to what he was wearing that day. Nikhil happened to be wearing some nice clothing, including a new belt. After thanking the kid for the compliment, he continued on, but the kid wouldn’t let out.
The kid approached Nikhil, physically got on his face, and he proceeded to block his way. “I like it a lot, can I borrow it?”- said the kid. Nikhil thought fast about what to do. This kid was not alone, he had friends with him, but Nikhil felt confident that he could take on the challenge since he had been practicing Martial Arts for many years. One of the things we practice, especially at high ranks, is sparring against multiple attackers.
In a split second he made a decision. He remained calm, cool and collected, took his belt off and with a smile on his face he gave it to the kid. “Here you go, just don’t ruin it”. The kid grabbed the belt and was stunned. He was looking for a fight and was hoping Nikhil would say no, but that didn’t happen.
Nikhil smiled, thanked everyone and walked back to the school. As soon as he was back, he spoke to a supervisor who came outside with him to confront the kids. He got his belt back, and the kids were reprimanded. Nikhil had successfully defused the situation without any major trouble.
How does this show his knowledge of Martial Arts? A lot of times we get comments from people on how the Martial Arts teaches kids, teens and adults how to fight. That is not exactly accurate. Though it is the practice of the Martial Arts to teach the practitioners how to defend themselves, one of its main purposes is to get you accustomed to situations of pressure, stress and overall discomfort. The more you are exposed to these, and learn how to deal with them, the easier it will be once this becomes a real situation.
In the same way that Navy Seals train in the water to be used to real situations, Martial Artists train being on pressure-filled situations to be ready for real world difficulties. It is actually very easy to hit someone when feeling pressure, it is much more difficult to learn how to smile and talk your way out of a difficult position. This is a tactic of the Martial Arts.
As Nikhil related the story to us, he shared that had he not been training he probably could have started a fight, and possibly gotten expelled.
This story reminds us how the Martial Arts teaches all kinds of things, it teaches you to punch, kick, block, throw and many more, but most importantly, it teaches you to be more confident. Confident enough to think before acting. I think most of us can learn from Nikhil.