Changing Ourselves To Change The World

Choose a practice that affects you in the way that you want to affect others.

If we commit ourselves to a practice consistently enough, over a long enough period of time, for better or worse, that practice will begin to shape who we are and how we relate to the world. Oftentimes, our actions and our interactions affect our thinking much more than our thinking affects our actions. What we do, how we do it, and who we do it with transforms us as well as our perceptions and that, in turn, transforms the way that we relate to and move through the world.

Martial art practice, as one example, is a microcosm of human development, behavior, and relationships that, within the right (or wrong) circumstances, becomes an operating system for our lives. Not all operating systems are created equal, however, nor do they all serve as healthy models of human interaction. For this reason, as important as an effective martial art practice is, it is equally important to consider how the martial art we practice will affect us and how we will affect others because of it.

Martial arts were always intended to be more than simply a peacetime hobby for self improvement or even self-defense. Especially in samurai-era Japan, the martial arts were used as a means by which to affect society and culture as a whole in accordance with the ideas and ideals of that particular martial group. This is part of the meaning behind the name Holistic Budo, in fact, which is to say that this is a blog about how martial arts can positively affect and shape our thinking and behavior so that, through them, we can positively affect and shape our relationships, society, and culture.

Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, as well as a founding member of the Severna Park and Baltimore Holistic Chamber of Commerce.

Street art photo taken by Robert Van Valkenburgh, artist unknown unless otherwise noted.

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