Martial Arts Friendships are Special by GM Fred M. Parks
The bond of a martial arts friendship goes deeper than what many might understand. For those of us in the traditional martial arts we follow a “Warrior’s Code”. We hold ourselves to a higher standards in all areas of our lives which also include friendships.
Martial arts friendships are a unique breed of relationships regardless of the style of martial art that you are a practitioner. Any member will vouch for making unforgettable friendships while actively training. Friendships in the martial arts are all long-term relations which can last an entire lifetime. When a member leaves his or her current school there is a high probability that they will leave all their friends behind. People’s lives and career paths change this is a common occurrence that happens in every school. Members tend not to think too much of this change. They understand they will miss the friends they have made. New friendships will inevitably replace the older ones.
Martial arts friendships might be brief, but they build lifelong connections. It is made clear in any martial arts school that people will come and go in the blink of an eye. It is important to make the best out of any friendship regardless of the brevity of the time together. True martial arts friends never truly abandon each other. An unspoken code amongst all martial artists speaks of rekindling friendships. There are even reunions between those who have formerly trained together in a style. The relationship takes off right from where it left. There is no resentment if the members didn’t have as many opportunities to chat after their departures.
Martial Arts Friends are Different because of the Warrior’s Code of Honor. Each school has their own code which they follow. They all have one thing in common. They all hold the members to a higher moral standard.
In the civilian world the rotation of people in a workplace can potentially be minimal. Workers are expected to retain a position for an extended amount of time unless it’s a part-time job. Friendships have a longer time to develop naturally. This freedom typically has the opposite effect of strengthening bonds between coworkers. Instead makes it easier to take it for granted. It’s even acknowledged in the world of psychology that most long-term friendships will come from the late teens to early twenties for most of the populace. Yet, this isn’t typically the case in the martial arts schools.
There is a universal acknowledgment by martial arts school members that our time is brief on this earth. Members train with the understanding that a situation that could potentially turn dangerous from car jackers, muggers, home invaders or other threat. The life of martial arts school members is in a constant state of preparation for this turmoil. Understanding this threat is the key to forming friendships in a short amount as the military does it. They’re all struggling together and having someone who forms a connection with them at an accelerated rate. This connection can make any situation incredibly bearable and having a battle buddy to accompany them in the worst of times is a huge relief.
Not Everyone Follows the Code of Honor. However, it’s important to recognize that not every member will follow this “code”. There are still loners in the martial arts school. Making friendships is not the top priority on every person’s list. A few members recognize that creating strong friendships can lead to suffering when the lives of their friends are lost. It is even more painful when a close friend loses their life. Life isn’t easy, but the friendships made in the martial arts are some of the most sincere and long-lasting in the world.
About the author: Grand Master Fred Parks is the Dean of the USA Hapkido Union, Inc Academy https://usahapkidounion.org and a senior consultant for the World Martial Arts Marketing Program https://worldmartialartsmarketing.com . He can be reached through his school website site at https://americandragonkoreanmartialarts.com .
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