The Launch of Martial Heart

Despite the flack that the martial arts community gets for the occasional thuggery andMartial Heart poster.png bad behaviour of some, I truly believe that most of us wish to be better and to be kind. A dojo is often a place of sanctuary and acceptance, a family that can be a great support in difficult times. I know that my dojos over the years have been places where I can be myself, which means being a bit weird and super nerdy about things.

It is with this in mind that I finally started an initiative that I have been thinking about for a long time. It is a small start, but I hope it will grow over time.

I have started with a simple bin for collecting old karate suits, training equipment and clothing in general. It is in the dojo reception area, and has a sign on it encouraging dojo members and family to donate. Every week, I hope to sort through the donations, then allocate them to dojo members on dojo account as well as dojos that are just starting out in less fortunate circumstances. Whatever is left over, I will take to charities in the area and build up relationships between our dojo and charities we personally approve.

We have tons of parents and kids coming through the doors every week, and we are so lucky to have the time and resources to train. Why not make it easier for people to give back with a collection point in a trusted environment? Parents often ask if there’s anywhere they can donate the good clothes their kids grow out of. Let’s make it easier for them!

If you would like to start something like this in your dojo and theme it (pet food as entry to a gashuku, toys for Christmas, whatever), please feel free to download the posters using this link. 

Martial Heart poster

I would be honoured if this appeared in even one other dojo. Please send me photos!

We have the opportunity to give back, always. I believe every dojo is special, and has so much to give.

Follow your martial heart 🙂

 

 

Dear TV-Watchers

Dear Fans of Reality Shows

A reality show such as Master Chef, Survivor or The Apprentice is as removed from real life as Spongebob Squarepants. After watching fans of Master Chef shit all over Exclusive Books over a cookery book displayed in a window, I can’t help feeling even more disappointed in the human race than usual. Here is a list of things that truly deserve your attention:

–         South Sudan has the least infrastructure of any country in the world and could use some help getting started.

–         4 million chickens are shredded and boiled to death every week in South Africa: think about the shit that you put in your mouth.

–         There are kids freezing to death every night

–         There is a petrol strike on and there’s no gas to be found

–         Rape is endemic and no one is being held accountable for it

–         The United States might have no economy to speak of in a few months

–         Sarah Palin is running for the 2012 candidacy, a woman who thinks hunting is a human right, virulently anti-abortion and thinks Afghanistan is a US neighbour

–         We have the lowest literacy rates in Africa, putting us below countries in the middle of revolutions, wars and genocides

And this is the utterly asinine shit people tend to concern themselves with:

–         the ‘joy’ of royal weddings

–         Master Chef Australia and the winner thereof

–         Jennifer Lopez’s buttocks

–         The Idols dropouts

–         Charlie Sheen

–         The Hangover 2

Please look at this picture of a starving child.

A well nourished Sudanese man steals maize from a starving child during a food distribution at the Medecins Sans Frontieres feeding centre in Ajiep, southern Sudan. from Tom Stoddart's iWitness Gallery

No, don’t scroll down. Look at that child. Crawling in the dirt. Hungry. And not “I haven’t eaten since this morning” hungry. Not “Its so cold today” inside an air-conditioned office cold. Not “oh my god I have to get up and actually go to work” tired. Try imagine what its like to watch someone walk away with your food and there’s no fridge to go scratch around in. This child’s suffering is pornographic in its extremes, but I want you to look at this and then think about all the retarded shit that us first-world people complain about. “I don’t have enough bandwidth. I don’t want to break a R50 note buying cappuccino. I have to wear an extra layer today. I’ve been invited to this party but I don’t’ feel like going, its too far to drive.”
All the energy that people spent on phoning in to 702 to complain about something that hadn’t even happened (the winner of Master Chef will only have their book released next week) could have been spent on protesting the government’s dire approach to media freedom. But no: the real travesty is that the winner of Master Chef’s book might have been on display. Fuck the starving kids, the political troubles, the troubling nature of Rupert Murdoch: a cookbook was displayed and someone needed to be punished.

I know there’s escapism and I would never begrudge people that. But the problem is that nearly everyone is hiding their faces in the bosom of television and tabloids, allowing the bad shit to go unchecked. If the government knew that their every movement was being tracked by the people, then they would pull their socks up. But instead you watch too much TV and read too much Heat magazine. Its so much easier to keep up with the river of shit that is Gray’s Anatomy or Gossip Girl than taking an active interest in the welfare of the country.

So yes, those who get upset that Vodacom was down for a day, or that the ending of some pointless reality show got leaked, I hope you will get upset when I call you an uninterested, fuckwitted drain on society. Because if you get upset then it means you are embarrassed, and maybe that will be some kind of incentive to turn the television off and maybe do 67 minutes of charity more often than every July. Knit a blanket for a kid. Drop some pet food off at the SPCA. There are trolleys at the Pick and Pay to put in food for shelters. Write a letter to the ANCYL telling them to stop wiping their arses with money and actually do what they promised for the poor. Sign every internet petition that comes your way, because those petitions are changing the world. Go volunteer to teach something to someone. Eat one less meal with meat in it. Buy fair trade coffee. Boycott Nestle. Go to an orphanage and read to the kids there.

But for fuck’s sake, don’t phone a radio station to complain about a cookbook.