The Influence of Martial Arts

By Professor Jason Lynch

Professor Lynch earning his brown belt

The other week we presented to our students a message about the new year – about getting fit physically, mentally, and emotionally. I told the class about a physical fight I saw between a man and a woman while their 4- or 5-year-old kid (presumably both of theirs) was watching. The kid was taunting them, saying, “the cops is gonna get you.”

What I shared with the class was this: it is easy to point out how mentally unfit these people are, but we also have to remember that they’re our neighbors.

So what does that mean for you and me? And what’s it got to do with your fitness?

Let’s start by understanding that these two people are influencing other people – maybe even our children, who could be watching this kind of thing.  So part of getting fit is creating a change in the world around us. Maybe we bring our co-worker in to train and they turn out to be this 4-year-old’s teacher one day and they can have a big impact on him. Maybe your sister comes into our VIP program and it turns out she’s the barista where this woman gets her cup of coffee and just because she’s nice to her, the woman is a little less stressed and takes her anger out on her family a little less. Or maybe your own child starts training and because of that he won’t fall prey to the influence of the other kids at his or her school who are growing up in a similar-type situation.

Our method of Jiu-Jitsu and Thai Boxing is based around exactly this type of thing – awareness and responsibility in daily practice.

Many of you know that we encourage friends and family to be a part of the work here. Our VIP program is not a guest pass at New York Sports Club. It’s about creating a change for yourself and for your environment. It’s about surrounding yourself with people who are working on these three types of fitness. We can’t isolate ourselves from the world but we can insulate ourselves to make sure we’re protected. You owe it to yourself and to the people you care about to take this responsibility seriously.

The woman that was smacking her husband while her kid stood in the street taunting them – she may not know there’s a better way. But you can’t plead ignorance because you know. As a martial arts practitioner, you carry that responsibility, and it’s something you’re expected to be working on daily.

So practice assiduously. And tell somebody about the training. The world – your neighborhood – needs more martial artists.