09-16-2001, 12:40 PM
Respected Friends in the Martial Arts Community,
The recent terrorist attack on America has shocked us all. Here in New York City and around the world, people have been asking themselves how this could happen. While there were undoubtedly many factors at work--global politics, religious fanaticism and possible intelligence and national security failures among them--one thing is clear:
The terrorists' plan depended upon, and was executed by virtue of, physical attacks carried out by a few individuals wielding knife-like weapons. In each hijacking, there are reports of scores of airline passengers being held at bay by four to five men with these weapons. Had these small-scale attacks failed, the world would be a different place today.
Now the nation and world faces a full-scale war on terrorism. Our leaders have warned us to prepare for a long "sustained campaign" against this threat. And it would be naive to think that we will be the only ones attacking--especially after last Tuesday. There is no question that we will ultimately win this war, but forever hereafter, and especially while the war is underway, we are at increased risk of harm from those who would like to escalate matters and those twisted groups who have been energized and encouraged by the success of the recent attack.
Sincere martial artists are disciplined, perceptive people. Our training can make us quite powerful and effective in defending ourselves and others. The time has come for us to lend our skill in service to our communities and the nation. The military can and will handle the battle abroad, but the need is strong for able citizens on every street, in every store, in every school, in every airport and especially on every airplane, to be ready, willing and able to put down individuals who would harm or kill innocent people. There are reports of a group of passengers making such an attempt on the aircraft that crashed in Pennsylvania, and it seems likely that those men saved the lives of thousands. Without IN ANY WAY criticizing or second guessing the bravery of those heroes, one wonders what might have happened if one or more of these individuals had been trained in advance to anticipate and deal with these attacks.
This is a call for the Martial Arts community to organize and create a coalition with the express purpose of training all interested and able citizens--ESPECIALLY those who are already devoted to the art of self-defense--to help prevent and stop terrorist attacks against our people. Of course we cannot stop car bombs and bullets, but we martial artists can use our heightened awareness to anticipate attacks, and in some cases (such as where hand-held weapons are used), we can take action to thwart them. The idea is not to encourage people to act rashly in the face of just any threat, but rather to train able citizens to see and seize opportunities to prevent disasters where such actions are absolutely necessary, as was the case on the recent hijacked flights.
A new organization: Martial Artists Against Terrorism (MAAT) is being formed to coordinate our efforts and make this idea a reality. MAAT's purpose will be the creation and advancement of an international coalition of Martial Arts organizations, schools and practitioners of every style and discipline who, with the guidance of law enforcement, will devote a portion of their instruction to the prevention of terrorism. MAAT's goal will be to spawn a massive network of responsible martial artists and citizens ready and able to defend themselves and others against certain forms of terrorist attack.
As a first step, those who are interested should do two things: 1) respond to this post with your support, and 2) pass this along to other individuals and organizations who might be able to advance the cause. In these regards, please understand that while the support of individual martial artists is truly welcome, the best way to assist is to help this message find its way to the upper echelons of the Martial Arts world quickly. So, for those of you who are part of schools or larger Martial Arts organizations, please forward this to your instructors and leaders, who can in turn approach their teachers and organization heads with the idea. Once MAAT has high level support in the Martial Arts community, it can approach law enforcement and possibly the military for guidance and partnership.
If you wish to support MAAT and/or join the coalition, please respond to this post or send an e-mail to maatUSA@earthlink.net with your name, school or organization, position within the organization and contact information (preferably e-mail). Please also include contact info for others you believe may wish to participate, especially instructors, masters and heads of Martial Arts organizations.