The State of WA
No, it’s not Washington State; it is a state of being, a state of mind. “WA” means ‘harmony’ in Japanese and refers to the state of harmony within a group and within you.
In Japan, group harmony –WA- is the most important aspect of any group endeavor. It is not the achievement of the goal, which of course is important for the success of the endeavor; but rather the ability of the people in the group to work together –without conflict- to achieve the goal. If the group can work together in harmony, then the success of the goal will come as a natural outcome of that cooperation. We all have to co-exist in groups: our family, our schoolmates, our co-workers, our friends are all groups we are part of and we have to work together in these groups to maintain peace and harmony.
Bullying Disrupts WA! (report below from kidshealth.org)
One of the most painful aspects of bullying is that it disrupts the harmony of any situation and brings about conflict.
Boys and girls who are bullied may find their schoolwork and health suffering. Studies show that people who are abused by their peers are at risk for mental health problems, such as low self-esteem, stress, depression, or anxiety. They may also think about suicide more. Bullies are at risk for problems, too! Bullying is violence, and it often leads to more violent behavior as the bully grows up. It’s estimated that 1 out of 4 elementary-school bullies will have a criminal record by the time they are 30. Some teen bullies end up being rejected by their peers and lose friendships as they grow older. Bullies may also fail in school and not have the career or relationship success that other people enjoy. Who Bullies? Both guys and girls can be bullies. Bullies may be outgoing and aggressive. Or a bully can appear reserved on the surface, but may try to manipulate people in subtle, deceptive ways, like anonymously starting a damaging rumor just to see what happens. Many bullies share some common characteristics. They like to dominate others and are generally focused on themselves. They often have poor social skills and poor social judgment. Sometimes they have no feelings of because they’ve been hurt by bullies in the past — maybe even a bullying figure in their own family, like a parent or other adult.
What If You’re the Bully?
All of us have to deal with a lot of difficult situations and emotions. For some people, when they’re feeling stressed, angry, or frustrated, picking on someone else can be a quick escape – it takes the attention away from them and their problems. For others, they think they can be more popular or fit in to a clique if they bully others not in the clique. Some bullies learn from firsthand experience; perhaps name-calling, putdowns, or physical abuse are the norms in their families.
Whatever the reason, there’s no excuse for being the bully.
If you find it hard to resist the temptation to bully, you might want to talk with someone you look up to. Try to think about how others feel when you tease or hurt them. If you have trouble figuring this out (many people who bully do), you might ask someone else to help you think of the other person’s side.
Bullying behavior backfires and makes everyone feel miserable — even the bullies. People might feel intimidated by bullies, but they don’t respect them. If you would rather that people see your strength and character — even look up to you as a leader — find a way to use your power for something positive rather than to put others down.
Do you really want people to think of you as unkind, abusive, and mean? It’s never too late to change, although changing a pattern of bullying might seem difficult at first. Ask an adult you respect for some mentoring or coaching on how you could change.
The venerable Karate Master, Matsumura Sokon, wrote, “A person who is truly humble, will always have an inner calm.” (We have that saying framed and hanging in the office area of the dojo, can you find it?)
Only someone who has a strong mind, a strong spirit and a strong body (#1 reason to practice Karate) can be confident enough to be humble and calm which will lead to living a harmonious life – A life of WA.
If you only have a strong body, but a weak mind and weak spirit, you will be influenced by others to do things that may be inappropriate and end up hurting others. You need to develop all three of these aspects of your character to become a true Karate practitioner and have any chance of becoming a Black Belt at the Ryu Shu Kan dojo.