10 POWerful Conversation Starters To Engage With Your Kids About… Mental Strength.

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Are You An Ethical Martial Artist?

EthicsThe Martial Arts are built on a foundation of several intrinsic morals and values, such as, bravery, courage, honor, discipline, and ethics, just to name a few. It’s because of these values that make our arts more than just another sport, or a way of self defense, but to also provide us a blueprint in which to live a decent, compassionate and harmonious life… The way we were meant to.

The question then arises; Are we as students, instructors and masters living up to and following that blueprint?

Many Martial Arts Schools pride themselves as being the go to place for character development, anti-bullying, life skills and discipline. It’s what the public expects and the way the industry portrays us to be. But are we truly walking the talk or just along for the ride?

When I started my own school back in 2004 I wanted to live, breath and teach those values, not just to pay them lip service on a glossy flyer or through a fancy website, I really wanted to epitomize them. I introduced a character development and anti-bullying program along with an updated, modernized curriculum that focused on making my program fun and unique. I also spent hours honing and developing my own skills, both as a Martial Artist and as an Instructor… It was all about establishing credibility, consistency and offering exceptional value.

I really felt that I was an ethical instructor, and looking back with what I knew then, I could see that there was no reason why I should have thought or felt otherwise.

But something changed over the last couple of years, not that I felt I was straying from those values, I just felt that maybe I wasn’t living up to them the best way that I possibly could, something was awry.

It wasn’t until I came across this YouTube video that things were really put into perspective…

This was my moment of clarity, this was the reason that I wasn’t feeling fully connected with those values. Here I was teaching anti-bullying, respect, compassion and empathy to my young students, yet I wasn’t walking my own talk… I was a hypocrite, and now I knew it.

Every time I sat down for a meal, have a drink, or snack, if an animal was involved in its composition, I was contributing to the violence and suffering of another living being… The connection was clear.

Good people don’t just talk about kindness and compassion, they practice it.

We were nurtured and raised on consuming animal flesh and their secretions (milk, eggs, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, etc.), we were taught that chickens, pigs, cows, turkeys and fish were put here for us, eating animals is a part of our rich tradition, the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle and the center piece around all our festive holidays… We have victimized animals to such a degree that they aren’t even considered victims. They don’t count, they don’t matter, they are commodities, just like our cell phones and TV’s. We’ve turned them into sandwiches and shoes.

It was cognitive dissonance on a massive scale… Some animals were meant to be eaten, and some animals were meant to be petted, but both groups of animals felt the same pain and had the same desire to live. We have been living in a paradigm centered around lies deception and exploitation on a massive scale.

The animal agricultural industry is by far the cruelest, most inhumane, archaic and unnecessary industries on the planet today, we don’t need to consume animals to survive, and doing so, has severely compromised our own heath and our planets.

Unlike many other animals who kill for food, we can survive on a 100% plant-based diet… Were not living in caves anymore.

Eating animal products (meat, eggs, dairy & cheese) have been linked to a majority of our number one killers, such as arteriosclerosis (heart disease), cancer, type 2 diabetes and strokes. The World Health Organization has also classified processed (bacon, sausage, deli cuts, pepperoni, etc.) and red meats as cancer causing carcinogens. That’s right up there with smoking, radiation and breathing in asbestos… It’s our number one cause of chronic disease and early death.

We are not natural carnivores, physiologically we are not equipped to properly eat or digest animal flesh, dairy or eggs, especially the gobs of saturated fat and cholesterol that comes with them… Ever wonder why so many of us are sick and obese?

Studies have shown that the more the plant-based the diet the greater our longevity and the lower risk of all cause mortality and chronic disease.

There is nothing manly, cool, sexy, fun or healthy about consuming animals, don’t let those slick, deceiving ads fool you… Not unless you think that having a heart attack or chemo treatments are the bomb, then all the power to you.

And if you are concerned about becoming protein deficient on a plant-based diet, just look at the biggest, strongest, baddest animals on the planet, they all eat nothing but plants, and yes like them you will get more than enough protein.

We’ve become a society that is obsessed with protein, it seems to be the number one macro-nutrient that we just don’t seem to get enough of, so says the advertising and fitness industries… Its time we stop getting our health and fitness advice from labels and commercials and start listening to the science.

The average person only needs about 10% of their total daily calories, or about 50 – 60 grams of protein to survive and thrive. High performance athletes may need a little more, depending on their sport and training loads.

Protein deficiency isn’t an issue today, never was, its the opposite, we’ve become over satiated with animal-based protein and less satiated with the plant-based macro and micro nutrients that promote good health and well being.

Excess animal protein has been scientifically proven to be the main catalyst of all cancers, the more animal protein that you eat the more likely that you’ll develop this horrific disease. We all have mutated and damaged cells in our bodies that can turn into cancer, it’s when we feed those cells a diet rich in animal-based protein, that’s high in casein and IGF1 hormones, that cancer growth initiates and accelerates.

While consuming a diet high in plant-based protein prevents, stops and even reverses cancer growth… It’s natures chemo therapy without the nasties.

We don’t need to get our sustenance second hand and filtered through an animal’s flesh and its secretions. Doesn’t it make sense to get it directly from the source… All protein, vitamins and nutrients come directly from plants, why settle for a watered down, second hand version when you can have the real deal.

This industry has only one thing on their mind and that’s in snagging our hard-earned cash. Don’t let the phrases “Happy Meal”, “Free Range”, “Organic” or “Farm Fresh” fool you, these are just euphemisms that the industry uses willy-nilly to make us feel good about the animal products that we purchase. There is nothing happy, humane, healthy or wholesome about them.

And don’t be fooled by images of happy cows, pigs, chickens and turkeys, because there is no happy going on inside an industrialized factory farm and slaughterhouse.

We as Martial Artists and Instructors can’t talk about anti-bullying, empathy, respect and anti-violence while turning a blind eye to what is happening to the animals we pay to consume. The only reason this industry exists is because we pay for it to exist… We may not be pulling the trigger on the bolt gun, we’re just anonymously paying for someone else to do it for us… It’s a clear case of guilt by association.

After watching the video and looking more deeply into this horrific, archaic industry I no longer wanted to be a part of the lie, I wanted to get back to walking the talk and knowing that I sincerely and truly was an empathetic, caring and compassionate instructor, I wanted to be more ethical, especially when it came to speaking up and standing up for the most defenseless, weakest and exploited beings on our planet… The animals.

We cannot take a stand against Bullying, Racism, Rape, Torture, Violence, injustice and Murder if we disconnect ourselves from what’s put on our plate.

I wrote this piece not to preach about veganism and animal rights, but to hopefully inspire you to take an inventory of your own health, ethics and values to see if yours are in line with your beliefs and morals.

We as student’s, instructors and an industry have an opportunity to really make a difference, we can continue to turn a blind eye on the weak and defenceless, or we can be the change we want to see… The choice is ours.

Take care of yourself, take care of the animals, take care of the planet and then you can take care of and inspire your students.

Are you ready to make the connection?

By: Master Tim Bell

6th Dan Taekwondo Blackbelt

Here are some other great resources that are well worth checking out:

For You…

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For the Animals…

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For the Planet.

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