Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fighting Stops Violence?

After my piece on martial arts in the Sydney Morning Herald, I was interviewed on Channel 7's 'Sunrise' program this morning.

If you're interested, you can watch the interview here.  


Ryan van Leent said...

Hi Damon,

I just wanted to congratulate you on how you represented yourself and the martial arts during this morning’s interview on Sunrise.

I have been practicing Karate for just on 25 years, since the age of six, and I am now an Instructor with a Dojo in Canberra ( I often have parents come to me with children who are acting out, and they ask me if Karate can teach them discipline. My response is usually very similar to what you articulated this morning, drawing on my own experience of how Karate has helped me in life. Further, I try to explain how our approach to “structured learning” will help their children in school, by teaching them the process of how to learn something new – if that makes sense?

Anyway, I thought you did a great job of communicating a difficult concept to a sceptical audience. Well done!

Kind regards,

Dan said...

G'day Day,

Mel and Kochie ... geez mate, you've made it now! ;) Naomi and I watched the interview this morning, and we thought you were excellent. Some great points (I can see "learning how to lose well" becoming a wider theme), and possibly the first thoughtful use of the word "headlock" on breakfast tv.



Truculent Sheep said...


Good to see you're now famous! My only point to add is that male violence (and I'm speaking from very painful experience) has two other causes that can be remedied by MAs.

Firstly, until fairly recently, a lot of teenage boys left school at around 14 and started working or learning a trade. This brought them into contact with male role models that gave them direction. Nowadays though, the trend, and indeed the expectation, is that they are kept in school until 16-18, which is in fact not ideal at all for those who are not academic or simply bored silly with sitting in classrooms. A lot of young male violence can be put down to this frustration.

MAs would provide a vent for this rage, as you've said, but also provide a replacement 'masculine template' for young men looking for a point of reference.

Secondly, sport and physical exercise in schools is to blame too. It either humiliates and discourages some young people, putting them off exercise and making their differences too obvious, or encourages poor behaviour amongst those who do well in it. (All that macho swagger and contempt.) Or there's simply not enough of it and it doesn't help young men burn away all their energy.

Again, either introducing MAs into schools or allowing students time off to study them would be a good answer as it allows each student to come up with an exercise programme best suited to his needs and would, of course, be a good vent for all concerned.

Damon said...

Ryan, thank you (hopefully you received my email).

Dan, glad you saw it. Yes, 'learning to lose well' is something I'd like to explore a bit more. And if I fail, it can be a quirky self-referential adventure.

Truculent: yes and yes. Again, it would all have to be done in a respectful, safe, mature way. And of course there would be hiccups. But, yes, I think a bit of structured combat in schools would be very helpful.

Adam said...

Oh, btw, great judo photo! It is one of my favourite throws: osoto-gari :-0

Adam said...

Doh - that should have been a smile :-) not :-0 Sorry.

Damon said...

Thanks, Adam.

It's hard not to love a good osoto-gari, isn't it? So crisp, simple, and effective.

I took it from here: