The following is not unique to my school nor is it unique in society. It was simply the first time I had experienced it. We as a society are getting lazy, lethargic, and boring. If it’s in society it’s in our children. Here is what woke me up to the electronics age addiction. An eight year old karate student of mine brought a friend with him to class. We began our class, and I noticed the friend sitting in the lobby by himself. I asked my student if his friend might want to take class. My student did not have an answer, so I walked to the lobby and asked the kid if he’d like join us for class. The kid, engrossed with his Nitendo DS, looked up at me and stated that he’d much rather play his DS for the hour. I nodded my head and smiled, and encouraged him to give up the DS for an hour and have fun with us. It didn’t work. The young man sat in the corner playing his DS for the entire hour. In the past, when students have brought their friends to class, those friends have always taken class. This was the first time I had lost out to a DS.
Growing up I had access to old Atari and Intellivison video game platforms. I had access to the Sega Genesis, and various hand held video game systems. I played them sometimes. But, I never chose video games over playing sports, playing outside with my friends, or just being active in general. There was always balance between my electronic world and my active world. We shouldn’t blame the kids. Video games are fun and exciting. However, if a child’s most fun activity is playing video games something is wrong. Adults are too blame for the children who have a video game addiction. As a father of three it makes the home quiet when my five year old is playing his DS. That being said, I know the minute he starts asking to play the DS all of the time, that it’s definitely time to scale back. The DS is an excellent distractor while my son sits in the lobby awaiting for me to finish teaching the older class, and we usually allow him to play once in a while at home. I play video games myself, but it is low on the list of indulgence and priority. Allowing a child to become addicted to video games is the responsibility of the parents. If a child grows up making the DS his best friend, and his number one hobby, then what kind of adult will this child turn into?
It doesn’t stop with the kids. Us adults have the same problem. So many people drive and text- you deserve a headlock for putting us all in danger. Adults sitting in movie theaters texting during the film. Adults sitting on the sofa texting, browsing the web, while their kids play DS. No communication and no interaction within the family structure because of this electronic addiction. I get frustrated when I’m in a store and an adult is chatting on a cell phone at full volume. Really? The call couldn’t be continued after your grocery run? We are constantly doing ten things at once, never truly present, and when we are not present life- that is truly living- is flying right by us.
I love the web. I enjoy the option to text. I enjoy watching movies. I enjoy playing video games. I enjoy all of the electronic devices that make our lives easier so to speak. But, I don’t enjoy any of these things more than life itself. We are a society that is becoming more obese, lazy, incapable, and apathetic. The American Passion is spiraling down the drain. Fifty percent of Americans will either die of a cardiovascular disease or cancer. That’s fifty percent. Both diseases are directly attributed to poor diet, poor stress management, and poor fitness. By, 2023 it is predicted that seventy percent of all Americans will be obese. Seven out of ten people will be obese.
One might ask- what’s this all about? Why are you posting this on a martial arts blog? Because this is my calling in life. To allow people to become strong, confident, hungry, capable, and energetic. To teach that learning how to fight, is a fitness thing, and a mental thing. That punching and kicking not only makes you safer, but gets you off your bottom for at least a few hours per week. Plus, we are building a skill set that can be called upon should we needed. I am passionate that this best America has not come and gone. I believe that we can recapture our American pride and glory. But, it takes activity. It takes parenting. It takes leadership. It takes learning how to fall, and get back up. I am trying to improve people’s lives in the present and in their future. Martial Arts is the tool that I use to try to accomplish this goal. Use the electronics less. Multi-task less. Grab life and absorb the moment. Teach your kids that playing, breaking a sweat, and competing are more valuable that breaking his all time high score.