We Need People!!
I cannot explain my excitement to get classes going at here at MAMA. I miss our students, I miss our coaches, and I miss our community! The martial arts, as much as they are very focused on development of the individual, are no question a community practice.
We are social creatures by nature; one of our primal instincts is to search out a place or group where we feel a sense of belonging. Psychologists and mental health professionals all agree a deep sense of belonging that comes with being a part of a community is vital to a healthy lifestyle. Communities provide support and social interact; opportunities to openly create bonds with others in the process of building valuable relationships. They are also rich in resources. One’s strengths may be someone else’s weaknesses and vice versa. The diversity of skills aids in everyone growth.
The martial arts community is unique not only in its makeup but also the motives behind those who make it. In very few instances can one find group of individuals with essentially nothing in common coming together on a consistent basis to reach common goals. It is tough to find a place where doctors, lawyers and businessmen who become close, trusted friends with college kids, bartenders, plumbers, and tattoo artists.
The stories behind each student are as unique as the individual. People are attracted to the martial arts for various reasons: stress relief, weight loss, competition, variety, and many more. Yet a common ground brings them together. More importantly, a common ground keeps them together. The study and practice of martial arts helps people to realize a better version of themselves, but it is the community that allows a person to truly grow and flourish. Business leaders have cited experiences in martial arts environments as motivation to build a more inclusion culture in their organizations.
Our recent efforts to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) have been led with a push for social distancing and even isolation in many areas. While working from home is novel in concept, dismantling our communities could be more devastating in the long run. Isolation has shown to be a major root of depression, anxiety and loneliness.
Recent studies have indicated more people are suffering chronic loneliness than ever. The health and mental health risks associated with loneliness are evident. According to a meta-analysis co-authored by Julianne Holt-Lunstad, PhD, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University, “There is robust evidence that social isolation and loneliness significantly increase risk for premature mortality, and the magnitude of the risk exceeds that of many leading health indicators.” Anyone remember Tom Hanks’ character, Chuck Noland, in the 2000 movie Castaway? (Yes, that movie was 20 years ago already!!)
Let us not forget that these issues can occur when people are around others— loneliness is not synonymous with chosen isolation or solitude. Technology and social media allow us to stay connected, but does it replace people sharing actual physical space and direct human interaction? Loneliness more accurately defined by people’s levels of satisfaction with their connectedness with other humans. This may explain data that indicates nearly 80% of Gen Zers survey and upwards of 70% of millennials report being lonely. This is versus half of the Baby Boomers surveyed. #OKBoomer
I love the martial arts but I love it more for everything its community provides for a person and its openness to including anyone and everyone. Anyone searching for a place to be accepted or experiencing a sense of loneliness should consider the martial arts. A little punching and kicking never hurt anyone but a lack of people in our lives surely does.
Everyday Is Training Day – Reap What You Sow!