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Title [Martial Arts Globe] Overcoming COVID-19 as a Martial Artist
Photo by Hazem Asif, Photo is not directly related to the writing.
Carlos Lisart Avino
1. Please briefly introduce yourself.
I'm Carlos Lisart, 28 years old fire-fighter at the Spainsh Air force but also a Judo teacher for more than ten years. I also participated in the first UNESCO ICM 2017 1st MARIE (Martial Arts Research Initiative for Experts) program as a researcher.
2. Please share the affects of COVID-19 in your community. What kind of changes were there? What kind of difficulties did you, or your friends and family have to face?
In Spain, COVID-19 has affected us intensively. Lack of preparation and lifestyles that doesn't promote social distancing made us extremely vulnerable. We suffered the most severe lockdown in Europe, but at the same time, still have the highest number of deaths according to the population of the country. In this society where it is normal to enjoy the sun, the beach, or to go out for any kind of social reunion, we've had to learn new ways to stay in touch with our loved ones. We learned to wear a breathing mask all the time and isolate ourselves for the risk to the other. This isolation, united to the incessant trickle of deaths day by day, made a large number of citizens grow upset about the management of the pandemic. And not without reason : we witnessed how our country who is considered one of the top 5 developed countries in Europe had no protection over health and medication for their citizens. Also no test to control the contagion and no plan to recover the economy.
3. How did COVID-19 affect you? Did the changes and difficulties faced by COVID-19 affect you too?
In my case, I consider myself very fortunate since nobody in my family has died. Nonetheless, I have seen neighbours, and relatives of my closest friends die without a proper burial, without the chance to say farewell. And this is not good for mental health. It is tradition but also necessary to part and to mourn.
4. What kind of martial arts do you practice? When did you start? Why do you practice the martial art?
I have been practicing Judo since I was twelve. I started because I used to practice a lot of sports (athletics, soccer, swimming...) but when I entered a Tatami and experienced the emotion of fighting but also the respect for the rival and master, I fell in love with its values and history.
5. Please introduce your martial arts(brief history, background, etc) and its' tenants and values.
Judo is a martial art born in Japan, founded by Jigoro Kano in 1882. Basically, it extracts from traditional martial arts whose objective is to kill the opponent, through a wide compilation of techniques developed to only bring down the rival. These characteristic made it very popular in the different police forces and armies in Europe, and also the possibility to become an Olympic Sport. Judo differs from any common sport in the fact that it counts with a strong moral code, which is considered as important as the techniques to be a good fighter. This moral code is based on the philosophy of Budo and its main principles are: Manners, courage, sincerity, honor, self-control, modesty, respect and friendship.
6. How do you think each of the tenants and values can be applied to COVID-19? Please explain specifically and with examples.
I sincerely think Judo values can be applied to every aspect of life, and this pandemic is no different. With manners, we learn to manage a tense or difficult situation, avoiding unnecessary conflict and thinking about what and how others think and feel. Courage gives us the strength to do what is right, even when it is difficult. It even gives us a way to fight a disease with the correct mind-set. Sincerity becomes even more needed when we have to obey new rules, or to see our loved ones only through the computer screen. To speak the truth is mandatory to be in calm with yourself. Avoiding the truth, to escape the situation can worsen things and make adequate measures impossible. Honor makes us be true to our convictions, because it is our moral guide in a time where the barriers between good and bad become blurry. Self-control will help us overcome the difficult situations we have to face without losing composure. Modesty will help in putting everything said above in order. We don't have to be excessively proud for doing the right thing. Respect is the base of any relationship, even more in a critical situation. Friendship is the most beautiful human feeling, and it can make us overcome any tragedy or calamity.
7. Now that you've applied the tenants and values of martial arts to the COVID-19 situation, please share what you feel, and any other thoughts.
Martial arts have always been related with humans in times of adversity. This way of living makes people stronger, both physically and mentally. Now that social distancing seems to stay in our societies, I think the only sports that will survive are those who offer something else : introspection, self-practice, mind set training, meditation, and, of course, values. We must not fall into thinking that martial arts are just fighting. This is the time to develop martial arts to educate and for inner, real life fights. And after that, we'll come back to the tatamis and to our friends stronger than ever.
※ Opinions expressed in this article are the author's own.