We at USAdojo.com have only the best interest of martial artists and the martial arts community at heart.

I am a minister first and a martial artist second though I’ve been in the arts longer than I’ve been in the ministry. I am neither a journalist nor a reporter. I simply write about the things that interest me or to try to promote harmony in the martial arts community. I don’t often feel compelled to comment on the negative side of the arts as displayed by unscrupulous individuals as I feel that what is done in the dark eventually comes to the light, usually without the application of my somewhat inept hand.  Unfortunately, we are sometime called to operate out of our comfort zone.

I have served as a minister and pastor and in the mental health field. In both instances I have been a mandated reporter, not because it was what I wanted but because that responsibility came with the job (s). Some things can’t go unsaid or unreported.

In the next several days you’ll probably be presented with some dealings within our community that should concern all of us as martial artists and as human beings. There have been allegations and instances of improprieties and dishonesty that threatens the credibility and good name of the martial arts in general and its representatives in particular.

Unfortunately we, as a community, suffer the same issues as the rest of the world. We are not without our cheats, thieves, sexual predators and such like. We would like to think that we are exempt but recent developments have served to alert us that this is not the case.

So, if one becomes aware of such immoral dealings and wrong doing what is our responsibility? Can we go on as if nothing has happened or do we take the proverbial bull by the horns and address the problems? I wish I could offer one answer that would fit every eventuality but this is not a ‘one size fits all’ type of instance and there is no pact answer to cover every possibility. So, why am I even writing this?

There is the big question. I suppose, in a sense, I’m questioning my own possible involvement in such instances. I have enough sense to know that I can’t right every wrong. Because I serve as a mediator in a number of conflicts and try to be the voice of reason when emotions and sensitivities flare I try to remain neutral and impartial. Unfortunately, there are times when it is a sin to see and say nothing. I refuse to see a woman abused or a child hurt and do nothing. When the innocent are compromised and the helpless are victimized what recourse do I have but to become involved. Too often though these improprieties don’t fall in such black and white areas. There are all kinds of gray areas that allow all kinds of wrongs to be perpetrated. All of these aren’t life and death situations but many do require the involvement of those who observe them.

There is a belief that martial arts sensei, like ministers are above such illicit dealings as we see in other individuals but we see from experience that that isn’t particularly true. As much as we would like to think that our clergy and sensei(s) are above carnal, dishonest and immoral actions we delude ourselves if we don’t accept the fact that it does occasionally happen. We as a community is no more exempt than any other.

As much as we would like to stay neutral and remain uninvolved sometime we can’t afford that luxery. Sometimes we have to act. Sometime we’ll have to become involved, not just because we are legally responsible or because we are mandated reporters but just because we are human beings. I’m not going to jump in here and tell you when you should address the gray areas that pervade all areas of life but in the extreme situations where the safety and wellbeing of another hangs in the balance it is wrong to look the other way. Occasionally our moral responsibility demands that we become involved however uncomfortable, inconvenient and, yes, sometimes risky it may be. As human beings we have to have the truth of our convictions.  Sometimes we have to speak out.

Too often the media survives on sensationalism. Blood, guts and gore boosts ratings and sell papers. The controversial is prioritized while the good news is ignored or overlooked. Such is not our purpose at USAdojo. We are here to boost the arts and promote the responsible individuals who represent it. That is our preferred stance but on occasion we are called on to right a wrong or address a potentially harmful or destructive situation. In a sense, we are mandated reporters. Some things that we see can’t go unsaid. Some wrongs have to be addressed lest they hurt or even destroy us all. Just bare in mind that in such an instance we have only the best interest of the martial arts and the martial arts community at heart.

God bless you, my martial arts brethren. Train hard and go with God.

Rev. Dr. Donald Miskel