I am very fortunate to have an acute perception of people and cultures having lived and worked in several different countries. I have taught martial arts to white, African American, Latino, Asian and Polynesian people. I have had kids with special needs; I have had people with brain injuries train under me. Whatever difficulties anybody had I was able to develop their potential and help them achieve their goals in martial arts. To develop the character and sensitivity to be able to work and adapt to different individuals is not an intrinsic skill, it is something that can only be developed through experience.
When I used to teach Taekwondo I have had the challenge of teaching a man who had long and short-term memory loss, who would forget things after a few minutes. I have had African-American kids who I suspect had domestic issues which I do not even want to guess. Often these kids would be vying for my attention and squabbling and fighting amongst themselves. I once had a fascist join my Krav Maga class who would correlate crime with the increase in immigration from non-European countries. I told him that he is extremely lucky that I am not as ardent a racist else I would not be teaching combat skills outside of my ethnic group.
I think martial arts are a great way to give life meaning to all kids including those from ethnic minorities and keep them away from an empty culture of substance abuse and gangs. That is why I do what I do. I am being proactive and building up confidence, self esteem, and the ability for these youths to be able to resolve conflict and act as leaders amongst their peers. By being proactive I am saving money for the social services, police and correctional facilities.
By being aware of my own roots and culture, practicing the hand to hand combat of those who protect the land of Israel and being able to understand one of the oldest languages in the world; the language of the scriptures; I feel I am able to relate to other cultures trying to find their way in this country. The struggle of the Israelites should empower the African spirit, the mana of the Maori warrior and the Chicanos trying to escape the empty existence of gang rivalry and be one with their culture. For me being a martial artist is a vessel to be who I want to be. When I am dating I would rather it was my physical presence, protection and leadership that attracted a wife rather than the size of my bank account or my car.