I had posted this on my Facebook page a few days ago, bait more off the cuff from my usual style, with the intent of expanding on this later. But I am reposting this here on OTM word for word.
"Give a horrific and tragic turn of events in our community of Jiu Jitsu, I’ve had a number of conversations and have been asked to share my thoughts with quite a few people. I am shook by what happened as well, and I’m measuring my response now to be thoughtful and responsible.
Firstly, my heart and prayers go out to the victims in this case. If I had to think of the worst thing that could happen to my academy, this would probably top the list.
Secondly, I could chime in and say that rape is bad. I think that should be completely obvious however. If I have to explain why, you probably should recuse yourself from the human race. I’ll give the lot of you reading this more credit than that.
More so, I deplore the strong preying on the weak and vulnerable. This is the complete opposite of why I got into the martial arts in the first place, and against everything I stand for today. Again, this should be obvious, however it will manifest itself in ways that are less obvious than the incident that happened.
A time of reckoning is coming, and our community as a whole and particular ALL of us that have some station of authority are going to come under close scrutiny. This happens every time something bad happens and we will all feel the brunt. We will be questioned, both internally and externally (and I’m certain much more will be coming down) and we must not only be prepared for this, but ready to look deep inside ourselves and perhaps examine ourselves.
We should be doing this on a constant basis. We should realize that it starts with ourselves and our home bases first.
To the martial artists out there, I would ask if you are providing a culture where the strong preys upon or protects the weak. Are you looking to exploit vulnerabilities or are you looking to build people up? And is your message and moral compass clear and communicated, or is it in danger of being perverted on some level?
And specifically related to the events, an interesting point came up in how do you actually deal with rape prevention in your academies? Are you equipped to deal with this? Personally, I’ve always had a bit of a distaste for self defense seminars or weekends because I think to a large degree it gives potential victims a false sense of security.As my friend Stan always points out when he is teaching about self defense is that most people are good folk and not accustomed to violence, but in a self defense or a rape scenario you are dealing with someone who has no problem with a level of savagery you couldn’t imagine.
Usually when I make a post or an article I have a specific point to make or make use of the bully pulpit that my articles have become. But I think more of a dialog is called for in this case and an ongoing discussion because these are questions we will all have to answer and should be asking ourselves. As I said, we are going to come under tremendous scrutiny and it’s best that the good folk among us step and show we not only have nothing to hide, that we are capable of being the examples we are supposed to be."
There have been other words of wisdom and excellent voices making themselves heard since then:
Firstly, the Ryron and Rener’s video response here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=iTxAjN1XSso
Secondly, Ryan Hall wrote an open letter to the Martial Arts community here http://livingthemartialarts.com/
Finally, this also caused me to investigate Tom Callos’s group the 100, who has been calling upon Martial Arts Instructors to hold themselves to a higher standard. http://the100.us/