An open letter to the martial arts community from Ryan Hall
I was very interested to find this article:
It is rather long and rambling, but I think it goes to the very heart of what this website is supposed to be about. Integrity in MA, not cult behavior. Surely if the owner of a big-box franchise gym behaved as a predator this person would be called out as such and dealt with and not defended out of a warped sense of honour or blind loyalty.
I have pasted the full article below from Bloody Elbow, and the link to Ryan's letter.
"The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living, and the get rich quick theory of life." -- Theodore Roosevelt
Over the past week, certain revelations have come to light about awful, subhuman behavior on the part of a number of members of our community, some of whom I know personally.
The worst of this is certainly the work of some truly reprehensible individuals who seem to think that they have the right to destroy the dignity and innocence of others in the pathetic service of their own desires. Some of them will hopefully bear the full brunt of the justice system’s penalty for the atrocities they have committed. Others may not be liable to judgment at the hands of the courts, but should in no way be excused for their own disgusting acts both past and recent.
Somewhat less grievous, but still staggering in its absurd level of insensitivity, cultish wagon circling, and revolting lack of perspective has been the response of certain individuals who feel the need to blindly defend the actions of those with whom they are associated. I cannot say for certain if this is born out of some sort of woefully misguided sense of loyalty or if it is simply the basest act of self-preservation, aimed at protecting a reputation built on the connection to someone discovered to be wholly disreputable. Regardless, I would think that the vast majority of people should agree that their behavior is beyond repulsive not only its dismissiveness of the suffering of the victims involved in this debacle, but also in their staunch refusal to exercise the analytical portion of their brains and reason for themselves in anything other than a completely self-serving manner.[/COLOR]
Making matters worse, some who would consider themselves "good" people are remaining silent, either unable or unwilling to put integrity over solidarity and financial interest. They have looked on passively as their associates have scrambled to cover their tracks, to duck and dodge inquiry into matters so grave that they demand a response. Disappointing. Many will hide behind the "I wasn’t there, it’s not my place to say anything" defense. This is a completely unacceptable stance given the information in evidence. Their reluctance to act speaks volumes about either their weak character or their already being under some level of mental control.
It has been correctly noted over the course of history that all that is necessary for evil to thrive is the indifference or inaction of otherwise decent people. Are we really willing to accept this truth and still remain seated?
As someone who has occupied a number of roles and stations in the martial arts community since I first became involved with it, I believe that I may be able to shed some light on why things are progressing as they are, as well as provide a cautionary tale for others who I hope will be able to avoid the pitfalls that I often plunged face-first into due to my na´vely trusting in the good (or at the very least neutral) intentions of the people over top of me.
Fifty/50 Jiu-JitsuFor my full story and take on where our community is heading, please visit
www.livingthemartialarts.com and download the PDF file