I was considering lately that many adults don't have a real community anymore. They have family and they have a few friends. They have work. But they are lacking the connection of a large group dynamic. It's hard to appreciate the energy of such a thing unless you are part of it. It motivates us to be better than we were. It makes us stronger. It gives us purpose. I look at my life in martial arts and I feel fortunate to have had community at the center of it.
Many people have TV, phones, and video games, but ask yourself what memories you have from these things. Many of the best memories of my life have taken place on the mat, with my second family in martial arts.
I think a lot of people have forgotten why Community is so important, and why Maslow put it in his hierarchy of needs. In America in particular we are a nation of individuals and in a digital era, during a time of Covid, most people actively avoid others because they are an inconvenience at best or a danger at worst. But they don't see yet the great value of community because in many cases they have never really belonged to one.
If you've ever been in the military, you understand the value of which I'm speaking. In fact, one of the most common complaints of people who leave the service is they feel a great absence in their life missing their community and sense of belonging.
Community makes you feel like you can belong to something larger than yourself. In the modern isolationist society, the individual considers themselves the most important and therefore doesn't understand the value of others.
But a strong community makes the individual stronger as well. The best way to succeed is to surround yourself with successful people. Regular exposure to positive, successful people will motivate you and inspire you with ideas. When faced with failures and mistakes, they provide emotional support and active skills and solutions you can employ to overcome them. Mostly, you just know you aren't on your own. When you know you are regularly around a community of people who have your back, it's easier to push yourself. You will take more chances and live a more fulfilling, meaningful life.
A strong community also gives you something of greater value than yourself. Part of the problem in being isolationist, is the individual often struggles with their own value. But by being part of something bigger than yourself, your estimation of yourself goes up in relation to the group's value. You know that you are contributing to something better than yourself.
Shared values in an area give us a common ground. The shared value through martial arts is a sense of purpose in betterment. It gives us a desire to look out for the safety and well being of our buddies on the mat. We share experiences that are familiar, and we do it from a place of equality, where the only metric people care about is effort and experience. This gives us unity that exists in a truer form than anywhere else you can find. Digital medias have separated us from each other so that they can direct us to Political ideologies designed to put us at war with each other. They wish to divide us. Community is the only way we can overcome this because it unites us in common values that go beyond such politics. Martial Arts may be one of the last places where people can truly come together and see value in each other and put aside the divides that have weakened us.