The Worst thing to happen to Budo in recent history?
Social Media is a perfect example of a double edged sword. While useful for discussion and the general spreading of ideas it all to often becomes a platform for the ignorant to rant about whatever bullshit happens to be on their minds. I am seriously considering giving up on Facebook as the things I get out of it are quickly becoming outnumbered by the ones that piss me off.
Bitching and gossiping are hardly things helpful to developing a good mindset for Budo, but for some reasons many practitioners feel drawn to such mundane activity. This is not limited to beginners, it fact it is far more common amongst instructors. Dojo instructors who engage in such activities as insulting other teachers or styles set an awful example to their students. Its easy to abuse people online as the consequences become so abstract when no one is faced with a direct confrontation. It is the creation of a conflict which otherwise may not exist. Younger people are easily influenced and as such this arrogance becomes part of the practice.
For example there are many styles of Aikido. Of course I have a preference but I can still find useful approaches and methods in other systems. And while there are styles I simply don’t like or see value in, I will not point them out. I’d rather my fellow students make up their own minds on this. If I try to influence them in this way, I feel I would be overstepping my boundaries as an instructor. How can people be respected otherwise.
I think this really comes down to integrity, how we view ourselves and what kind of effect we want to have on society. If we wish to have a positive effect, surely we must conduct ourselves in a respectful manner. One that encourages mutual respect and when is criticism is given it is done is a fair, balanced and helpful way.