The largest, one of the most destructive storms to hit land ever. That’s what they’re calling Typhoon Haiyan that decimated the Philippines. The images and video are horrific. But it’s so far away, so far from home here in the US. Why help? How?
It’s overwhelming when you see the scope of the destruction. After the Tsunami in Japan and before that Hurricane Katrina, I began to realize that I could do more to help instead of sending whatever I could manage to afford by itself. I began to consider how I could use my immediate sphere of influence to increase the amount of help to the cause.
I believe, regardless of what it is, you can use your vocation, avocation, hobby, passion or influence to bring attention to causes when they arise. As a martial artist my charge was to find out how to use Jiu-Jitsu, and how to relate it, to the cause at hand. So far I have done charity martial arts workshops for breast cancer awareness and research, autism awareness and research, food and clothing donations, anti-bullying campaigns, and domestic violence awareness and resource funding. Sometimes I managed to raise thousands of dollars or hundreds of items while other times I’d only have a few people show and barely raise more than I could have donated alone. But the point was that I got others to pay attention and increased help to the cause.
So if you are a martial artist (and I suspect you are to some capacity if you read my blog), I want to share a couple of ideas about how to help. Maybe you’ve already done something like these or have already considered it. But if you haven’t thought of these or haven’t acted yet, now is the time.
• Find an organization with better resources than you have.
The Red Cross is one of my favorites but there are countless others that specialize in disaster relief efforts. But do your homework because you will find unfortunately that there are many organizations that claim to put much more toward help than they actually do and some turn a bit too healthy of a profit while providing too marginal a portion of the money they collect to the effort.
• Hold your own event.
Host a seminar, donate a portion or all of proceeds from classes for a month, talk up the cause during classes and lessons. It is not unscrupulous to do something you were already going to,like teaching or running your business, and raise money or help for a cause at the same time. Now, if you use an event to drum up business for yourself while offering no recompense toward the event, that is unscrupulous and you are a D-bag. So don’t do that. Be good. Don’t suck.
• Get out your own wallet.
Don’t ask someone to do something you’re not willing to do yourself. The best way to influence people is to be a good example. There have been events I’ve put on where generous others with deeper pockets than my own have out-donated me, but I always pitch in what I can in addition to my time and organization and instruction.
If you are a serious martial artist you begin to realize that it’s more about helping people than hurting people. You recognize the interconnectedness of all of humanity and that what benefits some of us generally benefits us all. I teach because I care. I want to share with others this wonderful art that has changed my life in hopes that someone will be affected as I have been. And no one needs more help than those hit with such unforeseen, horrific tragedy like the Typhoon in the Philippines. These people, old and young, infants and elderly, pregnant women, handicapped and mentally challenged, those who are lost and have lost, all need help. Please do what you can.