Posted: Late Autumn 2001
Fight With Courage
For many years, we Americans have been fortunate enough to enjoy a sense of peace and prosperity on our soil. As a society, we have the opportunity to enjoy the freedom to travel within our country and abroad. We cherish our freedom of speech, the right to worship the faith of our choice and the right to peaceably assemble. We enjoy a legal system that guarantees us the right to trial by a jury of our peers, the right to legal representation and the right to remain silent. Our freedom to be creative has helped us make great advances in architecture, science, literature, medicine, technology, arts and entertainment. Despite the many differences among us, we manage to arrive at civilized resolutions. More importantly, we have been fortunate enough to enjoy the simple act of going about our daily lives in relative peace.
On September 11th, our sense of peace and security was shattered as we helplessly watched terrorists attack our country, our people and our way of life. In the days that followed, we were shocked to learn that the enemy was living among us. Terrorist how-to-manuals submitted as evidence in the trial of the first World Trade Center attack, which happened back in 1993, instructed these assassins on how to blend into our society so they could stealthily plot to destroy us and our way of life. Unfortunately, we have learned that a terrorist network exists throughout the world and one of its main goals is to destroy the United States. Despite recent efforts of law enforcement to arrest potential terrorists remaining in our midst, it is a monumental task with many cracks and crevices through which evil may escape. Our Attorney General has even warned us that future terrorists attacks on American soil are imminent. Despite the creation of the Office of Homeland Security, our free society still makes us vulnerable. The events of September 11th have changed us forever.
The purpose of this editorial is not to depress you. We are martial artists and it is not in our tradition to cower in fear. Instead, we want to share with you how we have dealt with this tragedy and how the foundations of our martial art traditions have helped us remain strong. On September 11th, we were in the dojo as the news unfolded. As we watched the coverage, we prayed for an end to attacks and the safety of many of our students who worked in the World Trade Center and surrounding area. Fortunately, none of our students were killed, but some narrowly escaped with their lives. For several weeks after the attacks, the school remained very quiet. Our student body, as well as our staff was in shock and in mourning. As we came to terms with the tragedy, we returned to the dojo.
Our mental attitude, developed over the years of training, helped us cope with the tragedy. Students returned to class with new resolve and enthusiasm. New students now come through our doors daily, with the knowledge that they may gain something special here that will help them through this difficult time. Many of us initially enrolled in a martial art school for the purpose of learning self defense or fitness. As the philosophical aspect of our training deepened, we noticed that the virtues we cultivated in the dojo, also serve us in our daily lives. During these times when the terrorists want to strike fear in our hearts, the martial arts help us cultivate the one virtue that will help revive our spirit ... courage. We cultivate courage because it is the very essence upon which our tradition of martial arts was built.
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