Some friends at my dojo began a “challenge” of writing notes about what they are grateful for. I like that kind of thinking in this world that I experience as increasingly fractured, polarized, and coarse each day.
I am grateful that I get to go to my dojo and find a few hundred good decent people training hard to develop increasingly sophisticated levels of skill at handling dangerous confrontations (on the inside as well as the outside). I get to be surrounded by people elevated enough to understand that truly strong protectors say and do and think things that make the world a safer and saner and healthier place.
Sometimes I look at training halls that differ radically from mine in purpose and culture, and I see violent ugly confrontation being promoted and celebrated as their claim to fame. I observe stupid and boorish young men yapping and taunting anyone from the outside, being twisted further into an abyss of endless cruelty and ignorance. Those young men know no better than to relish the experience of bullying and being bullied as an addictive substitute for authentic manliness.
How fortunate I am to have a dojo full of friends who see as noble purpose the lifting up of others through an insistence on honest understanding of how violence works, uncompromising personal demands for ever advancing skill in dealing with violence of all types, and possessing bright hearts that celebrate similar advances among their training partners. I get to be surrounded by brightness, by hope, by diligent sweaty progress towards an almost impossible to reach ideal.
How fortunate I am to be able to call such days “going to work”. That’s one thing I am grateful for.