Look For The Light (And Create It Where It Does Not Exist)

The artist sees the light where there may otherwise be none and, when there is no light to see, they create it.

One of the reasons that the arts are so important for our children is because, in difficult times, the people we turn to and count on to lead us through are not those who who follow instructions the best, but those who come up with creative solutions, who think outside the box, and who can imagine and manifest a future that was previously thought impossible. When faced with uncommon problems, we need uncommon solutions. We need creativity, imagination, and vision.

The arts may not be the answer to all of the world’s problems, but they are a compliment to all other skills. The arts teach us that we have the ability to bring our imaginations to life, to envision something new and beautiful, and to draw it, paint it, compose it, play it, write it, or even cook it. And, the arts teach us how to work within constraints, to use a limited palette, to stay within a specific style, to utilize a certain number of ingredients, and to use those constraints to make something beautiful, moving, and perhaps even life changing.

Studying the arts teaches us not only to look at beauty, but to look for beauty, even in the ugliest of places, circumstances, or experiences. Beyond that, the arts teach us, that when there is no beauty to be found, we have the ability to create it for ourselves and, ultimately, to share it with others. Within every scientific, mathematical, medicinal, or technical innovation or advancement is a little bit, or perhaps a lot, of art and creativity.


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.

All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh unless otherwise noted.

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