KUNG FU | MARTIAL ARTS FOR BOYS
Peaceful Warriors is Shaolin Kung Fu Academy's martial arts program for Boys (ages 6-12). Peaceful Warriors teaches boys to build inner strength, and respect for themselves and others. When a boy finds his true power, it releases insecurity and fear and brings peace and self-confidence.
When I was 9 years old, I asked my mother what it would take to be a man. My father was in prison, and a few years later he died of a drug overdose. As a single Mom, my mother did the best she could to answer the question. “You’ll be a man when you have integrity,” she said bravely. As a healthy 9 year old, I blurted out “What’s integrity and what does it have to do with being a man?” “Well, I suppose if you want to learn what it is to have integrity as a man, I’m going to have to find a man who can answer that question for you, son.” So my Mother found a man she respected and set up a meeting for me with him. What I took away from that meeting was that in order to have integrity, one goes into their heart and finds out what their values are, and then has the courage to live by them. “When you can do that,” my Mom’s friend told me, “You will be a man.”
Years later, that definition returned to me and I have tried to live by it. Yet, I struggled growing up because the definition of manhood I received was to be tough (callous and insensitive), to stuff your feelings, to never let anyone see you cry, to be stronger and faster, if not that, then smarter, to think of cars and women the same way, not to be sensitive or intuitive. I played football and joined the army and proved myself in all the ways that my society defined manhood, but there was an essential element of who I am and have always been that was bottled up inside me and it was the best part of who I am as a human being, who happens to be a man.
It wasn’t until I met my Kung Fu teacher that I was called out of this hardened shell of manhood that had become my prison. “Love yourself, be kind to yourself, forgive yourself, be gentle with yourself,” he told me repeatedly. “As long as you know your strength, you’ve got nothing to prove. It’s easy to fight, try not to. Balance the feminine aspects of yourself with the masculine. Be strong but nurturing and loving to your children.” These were the messages I was being constantly given that awoke the slumbering self that had lay dormant inside my heart.
I have come to realize that it is character that makes a man, not strength, or power, or victory. I draw my strength from honesty, love, compassion, kindness, respect, and the ability to be at peace with myself and to bring peace into the world each and every day.
These are the values that we want to impart to our young men, though Kung Fu training. I believe that a martial art, like all power is only as good as the values that guide it. Peaceful Warriors is a martial arts program, designed to help boys found their power through the skill and ability to protect life. Yet, it is always better to walk away from a fight, then to engage in it. We have fun and upbeat atmosphere, where boys learn self-discipline along side self-expression, and the fine art of not taking themselves too seriously. We awaken the wisdom of the heart by asking questions. We teach that love is the most powerful force in the Universe! We teach boys that the peace that resides in their hearts is a source of great strength.