099) Holiday Message- December 2012

This has been a year of remarkable growth in our dojo.  I am not talking about the number of students who train, but the noticeable progress that everybody has made over the course of this year.  I am excited to see us continue to mature as a dojo in 2013!

I believe very strongly in the importance of budo being reflected in our working together as a community of caring and concern.  The Saturday morning family classes certainly illustrates how the most important link in our community is family.  Budo is about protecting our community.  A loving, caring, unified community presents a formidable presence that few want to disturb.

The fear-based walls that we create sometimes come crashing down upon us, leaving an indelible stain in our sense of community.  As a parent, grandparent, psychologist, and proximate neighbor of Newton, Connecticut, I am deeply pained by their tragedy (and our tragedy as a nation).  A loving teacher and caring parent was in possession of some weapons and ammunition that were simply designed to kill other people.  We wonder what level of fear creates the impression that ownership of such items can act as talisman to the dreaded unknown.  The obvious complacency that enures one to the dangers of these weapons, leaves some to not adequately protect against unauthorized access them.  These factors led to the unthinkable…. That which was imagined as a form of protection became the expressions of profound horrors that can and should never be erased from our conscience.

We, as a budo community, should be able to look at the world of potential violence from a more balanced perspective than others.  We need to step back and re-examine what we are doing as a society.  Do we need to put weapons in the hands of young children as a marketing tool to increase our enrollment?  At what cost to society is the enuring of violent tools at such a young age?  Do we really need to equip ourselves to levels that almost replicate soldiers?  Has our society become so violent that 30 round clips of semiautomatic ammo are really necessary?  It seems to be that we have taken on a psychotic level of fear and we respond accordingly.  I genuinely hope we can step away from where we are and re-examine what we are doing as a society.

Our budo community is about building stronger, loving ties to one another.  This starts off with daily acts of love and care to our family, neighbors and community at large.  This is expressed in our training at the dojo, where everybody helps everybody.  We train by taking a realistic perspective of what we and our fellow students can do.  We learn to use the sense of fear of potential danger as early warning signs to take actions to mitigate potential risks, not violently confront them. We learn to respect the potential of violence and chose life-affirming courses of action.  We build from within us a calm and secure sense of self. We do not chose to ward off fear through false talisman that are simply tools of violence that can effect us as much as those unknowing forces we try and frighten off.  If we need to use tools, they are chosen out of a reality-based necessity and are treated with the due respect that should be shown to such dangerous items.

I wish everyone a very safe and loving holiday season.  Please use this time to reach out to those around you and build a stronger community.  Please use this time to think seriously about how we as a society need to create a safe and loving space in which we can prosper.  There are no easy answers, as in all aspects of self-defense.  I want our growth in the dojo in 2013 to also be expressed through our words and deeds in our community to create a safer and saner world for our children and our children’s children.

May the pain that we suffer as a nation in mourning provide us with a deeper sense of humanity, caring, love and respect for the beauty and sanctity of life.  May we use this caring to create a true season peace.  May be build upon this season to create and leave behind a better, safer, saner world for generations to come.

Marc Abrams Sensei

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