It Is Time For Action
The civil unrest going on around the United States does not end when Black Lives Matter stops trending. The work for equality runs long and there is a place for your academy to play a role. This is an important time for community service. Martial arts academies claim they serve the communities they are in, and here’s suggestions for steps to put those words into action.
- Speak out against hateful narratives in martial arts
Silence is a form of compliance. Many organizations have taken these past few weeks to show a commitment to fighting against injustice. There is a lot of work to be done in this space but speaking out is a first and important step in the matter. Have you spoken out? It does not need to be a grand gesture, but there are many ways that your academy can show allyship during these trying times. Whatever steps that are decided upon, the entire point is to not remain silent because that is equally as harmful.
- Raise money to support local organizations
Actions are needed to complete the work needed to solve social justice issues. “What do I do?” or “How can I help?” are two common questions levied by those that want to do something, but do not know where to start. One strategy for martial arts academies is to host seminars that raise money for organizations committed to do the work. Seminars are a strong revenue point within martial arts and have been used to raise money for great causes in the past. There are local chapters of the Black Lives Matter movement throughout the country that can use contributions. If not, that group there are others like The Innocence Project that could use the funding as well.
- Distance yourselves from bad actors
Just as silence speaks volumes during times such as these, so does continued support of the bad actors that run rampant within martial arts. This is not about “silencing” someone’s political views, that should not be practiced. But those that spread hate, misinformation and debunked conspiracy theories are a problem within the industry. If they are instructors or affiliates, have conversations about the damage they are doing spreading mis and disinformation. If it continues, then the time comes when there needs to be conversations about disassociation. CrossFit is going through a similar situation due to the actions of CEO Greg Glassman. The same could easily happen in martial arts.
- Speak to your students
Many minorities are struggling with the current societal climate today. That stress can manifest itself in a variety of ways. One thing you can do as a gym leader is to show empathy to what these individuals are going through. Take the time to make calls to your students and instructors that fall within these marginalized groups to check on their mental health. Call the parents of those in your kid’s classes to see how their children and they are coping. It does not take much to pick up the phone and check in on someone. Quick communication is at our fingertips. Take advantage of it to show your students that you care.
Support comes in a variety of ways. It is not difficult to show yours in this time of need. While it is not costly to do the work needed to serve marginalized communities from the mat, it could be costly if you continue to ignore those in need.