Hip-Hop, Chess, Martial Arts and the Nonviolent Path...

My nationality's reality/
And you a prejudiced man is of a devil mentality
- Kool G. Rap, "Erase The Racism"

Many people do not understand how the HHCF sees the blending of Hip-Hop, chess and martial arts as tools to promote a modern nonviolent philosophy. This is a subject that will be approached again and again at the HHCF blog.

Rap music is a lyrical expression of the soul (as are DJing, Breaking & Graff). Rap, is the music of choice for billions of people around the planet. Best of all, it is music driven by youth culture. Many beautiful, spiritual things. At the same time though, it reflects many of the darker corners of the mind and soul. The heavy disrespect of women, the cursing, the open celebrations of violence are not natural to the origin of rap. But then again, urban streets were not as deadly as they are today.

What many people fail to see though is that no matter how unsettling a violent lyric might be - the song is still an expression of nonviolence. 50 Cent writes a lot of songs about killing other rappers. Nas talked about getting Jay-Z "clapped up" on Ether. But the truth of the matter is that instead of writing - these men could have chosen to actualize the anger in the hearts. They could have went and shot someone. But they chose to write! That is nonviolence in action. Even at its most shocking, it still is a nonviolent expression.

B-boy'ing, popping, locking and other forms of urban dance are also by their nature nonviolent. Graff (which is different from random tagging and vandalism) is a beautiful expression of the soul. I was once asked by a reporter if I though it was wrong and illegal for people to write graffiti on public walls. I agreed it was. I said right after "What I think is a greater crime though, is to deprive children of artistic outlets in American schools for decades and then criminalize their natural response to that artistic suppression."

I don't know Picasso...I know Bicasso. I don't know DaVinci- I know Dug One and Spie. I know King Dream, Hex, Seen, and Scape...I know Blast One and Kase 2. Those are my artistic heroes. Their art speaks to my soul. Hip-Hop is nonviolent at its core. It is a nonviolent response to suppresed artistic expression by the mainstream. Hip-Hop is beautiful and I will always love it, even when I don't agree with it.

Chess is life.
- Bobby Fischer

Chess is a wonderful game. Virtually every culture on earth has been touched by chess. Through one game, so many have been mutually enlightened. Daaim Shabazz of The Chess Drum taught me that "Chess is a mental martial art."

He's so right. Minds clash every day...At work, at school, on the playground, on the bus...We are surrounded by conflict. Chess is a game that teaches us how to use our mind to avoid conflict in life.

A few decades back, the world seemed a bit more religious than it is today. The cultural traditions were passed on...The youth of today do not get ideas of patience, thinking through obstacle and self control from the church. They don't get it at the synagogue. They don't get it at the masjid. Simply put, they don't get it.

Since many of the virtues of these faiths are reflected in chess - why not use the Royal Game to give them a common place to find and utilize those tools? Where can they learn the power of having faith? How can they learn to look for a good position in the middle of a bad one?

Where but on the chessboard can they make a habit of defending their mind? Where but on the boards can they consistently blend logic and art? Where but here on the chessbaord can they express anger, joy and heal emotional pain? Let's share this game with the children, so they can see how many options there really are in life. Beyond that, let's use the game to help them actualize those options.

"Martial arts, in my mind, is totally different than just fighting. The Chinese characters for martial arts actually mean to stop war. Stop the war or stop the fighting. A few thousand years ago, they started martial arts to stop war. But later on, we [took] out the art; we only fight, fight, fight." - Jet Li, Wave Magazine

Martial arts, like Hip-Hop is often misunderstood. Most people, especially in America think that teaching young people martial arts, teaches them that hitting is good and proper. In fact, it teaches the opposite.

If anyone would take time to read the Tao of Jeet Kune Do, The Art of Peace or the works of Jigoro Kano, Mifune or Kimura - you'd see they were all peace loving men. All of the best fighters I know - never get in trivial street fights or use it to harm people. Bullies are always the untrained guys with no discipline.

I read a study not too long ago that said that bullies, when put into martial arts classes - quit! This is because they care about power and domination. That power is taken from them in a structured house of self-defense.

Stopping violence is something we all pray for. The tool of training children in martial arts is one we dont use enough to stop violence.

A girl who judo slams and armlocks an attacker - her actions cannot be seen as unlady-like, or negative. She cannot be compared to her attacker! Predators cannot be equated with those that refuse to be prey! She did the stopping of war that Jet Li spoke of earlier.

I knew a guy who was vacationing in France and saw his father get caught slipping by a pickpocket. He ran the guy down and used Brazilian
Jiu Jitsu to pin the guy and get his dad's wallet back. When the cops got to them, they grabbed my friend first!

They thought because my friend had the guy pinned down and in a shoulder lock, that he was the bad guy. Once the commotion was over, they were astonished at how without throwing a punch, and without breaking the guys arm, a crook was subduded. That, is the beauty of the physical martial art and its philosophy being applied in real time. See you soon. Thanks for stopping by.

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