REALITY + PERCEPTION | A DEEPER AWARENESS
Perception + Reality | a deeper awareness
Regardless of your political, religious, or otherwise personal beliefs and convictions, this post is about humanity as a whole and how we can all do better. Individually, as a community and then as a society.
Honestly, people can suck. Some call this perception pessimistic, yet I call it being a realist. There has been a rise in hate and despair running through our planet. People attacking others in all sorts of ways: physically, verbally, financially, politically, and so on just because they are different or don’t fit a particular mold. It’s disgusting, but a harsh truth of our existence. People don’t like change and even worse we’re taught since early childhood to judge, isolate and punish others if they don’t follow the “rules.” It’s a difficult dynamic to balance, on the one hand the intention is to teach our kids to be good people by an (usually) unspoken set of standards like manners/courtesy, respect, honesty, integrity, and a myriad of other positive attributes that are often intangible, but universally embraced. On the other hand, we often use crude methods to teach these lessons: physical isolation (timeout), emotional manipulation (guilt trips), physical pain (spanking), and a general dismissal of their feelings and thoughts. I’m willing to bet every single parent out there has done at least two of these to their children - we all do in one form or another; hence the dilemma of parenthood - how do we raise our kids to be the best version of themselves, while teaching them the right skills to navigate our complex society and it’s rules and challenges. There is no absolute right answer, but there are plenty of wrong ones, and most of us are trying our best. I bring this up because we need to know where it all begins. Where do we start looking for answers? It’s right there in our past. Some of us are taught to follow a religious code of conduct, some are taught specific principles or guidelines, others are taught to abide by written laws, and some aren’t taught anything good at all - they learn to hate and destroy what doesn’t fit their desires.
Understanding all of that, let’s talk about some recent events that sparked this conversation. The news has been reporting on the suspected hate crime against Mr. Smollett (Actor on Empire). Mr. Smollett was walking home late one night and attacked by two masked men. So far the reports state racial and homophobic slurs were yelled, a chemical thrown on him, and a noose was placed around his neck during the assault. Sounds awful, right? That’s because it is, and no human being deserves such treatment.
Worst of it is this happens everyday to men and women all across the nation and the world. How many of you know about the 20 yr old woman attacked in the Manhattan subway in December or the couple who was attacked in Austin, TX over a week ago. How about the attempted LBGTQ purge in Chechnya where 2 are dead and dozens more injured and traumatized? We only see and hear what we want to (confirmation bias) and many are okay with that. At Rogue, we are not, which is why we strive to develop an all-inclusive community of people trying to do better. We’re aware of the dangers that exist in our world, and know it’ll always be there so long as hate in any form exists.
This kind of behavior is frowned upon publicly, yet there are still plenty of a-holes out there who partake, promote and/or enable this type of hate. Whether it’s a passing comment, a joke, a judgment, or otherwise ill behavior about any member of the LGBTQ community, a particular race, or someone who is different than expected/desired; it’s wrong and it is more of the same hate that breeds these types of attacks. Mr. Smollett is an openly gay man who also happens to be black. It’s a tough world out there just being a part of one of those communities, not to mention two; and he handles it with grace and style. On a personal note, I can relate to at least the racial side of things, being half-PuertoRican and growing up never fitting in to any community no matter how hard I tried. It’s also one of the main reasons I encountered many conflicts and fights throughout my life, and it drives my passion to help teach others how to protect and defend themselves. People don’t like those who are “different.” It doesn’t matter your ethnicity, nationality, age, sex, sexual orientation, or if you have an accent, dress differently, have piercings and tattoos, or whatever, NO ONE deserves to be treated poorly or attacked simply because they exist and are different than you. And yet, it happens.
So what do we do about it? Besides instilling more love into our friends, family, and co-workers? How about treating everyone with respect because a little courtesy goes a long way. Even when they offend you, be nice. When they push your buttons, be nice. How about if they encroach your space, prepare yourself, but be nice; and if and when they launch an attack be ready to strike with everything you have and don’t stop until you are in a safe position to escape or call law enforcement. This is why we teach from the fence so much, and fundamentally why training Krav Maga is so important, not only to know how to fight an attacker, but also to know when, where, and how to approach those conflicts. The soft skills we teach will be utilized on a daily basis in your life, and hopefully the hard skills, you’ll never have to show anyone.