The name Trayvon echoes around social networking, the world’s media and on the streets of New Zealand. As a martial artist and former bouncer I think is a sad state of affairs when a 28-year-old security guard is unable to whoop a 15-year-old youth, unable to take a beating and has to rely on a firearm for protection from an unarmed youth. What is even sadder is that a hoodie-wearing African youth buying a can of pop and a bag of skittles instantly comes under scrutiny. This can only be attributed to the aberrant conditioning of a kooky and gung-ho community of a fenced off Florida enclave. To me, it looks like the first step down a slippery slope of white only areas and locally sanctioned apartheid.
Teaching children’s martial arts class today I had one youngster ask me whether I had hurt anyone in sparring or in competition. Two instances that spring to mind are when my axe kick popped my opponent's shoulder and another time when someone fractured their wrist trying to block my roundhouse. I have also suffered injuries with the most serious being a broken arm in a state tournament. Injuries I guess are inevitable, however, Taekwondo is a fairly safe sport considering the objective is to score points with full contact kicks to the body and head. In Taekwondo most of the time if one gets hurt it is normally the result of an accident.
People used to tell me before I came over to the country that reality martial arts would never make a big impact over here; that New Zealand is safe and is cut-off from the troubles of the world. What confuses and agitates me are the statistics of crime that I see and read about daily in the news. I feel overwhelmed and my sentiments are unable to keep up with the abomination of all the things happening lately in the news. I simply no longer see the idealic picture that was portrayed to me at the Work New Zealand Expo in London 6 years ago.
The dark side ofNew Zealand society in the back of my mind gives me a sense of dread. Dread about the future of my children and leaves me with anxieties about molestation by adults and the terror of a drug-addicted and criminal future. This emotional inadequacy or impotence against a boundless sea of troubles at times makes me doubt my own humanity.