Mutual Uplifting

Every day, we have the choice to treat others in a way that builds them up and makes them feel important, included, and involved, or to behave toward others in a way that puts them down and makes them feel small, insignificant, and irrelevant.

It does not take much effort to see which of these alternatives is more desirable.

And still, we live in a world wherein the latter is becoming more and more common in our daily interactions, and the former is becoming less and less so.

Instead of building each other up, treating each other as necessary and vital, we find ourselves divided by conflict, putting each other down as a way of securing our place in the world and telling ourselves that we are important, powerful, and relevant.

In reality, we are more powerful together than we are apart.

Additionally, our greatest power is expressed through our ability to come together, to join forces, and to build each other up in ways that we could never do alone.

Our greatest power is found through our relationships and empowerment is a process of mutual uplifting.


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 Kogen Dojo Self Defense Academy where he teaches Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh unless otherwise noted.*

*Robert Van Valkenburgh’s black and white photography can be seen at My Darkness To Light

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