Watching the news of a mass brawl between supporters and players at a GAA football final recently, I couldn’t help but wonder what is considered acceptable behaviour amongst sporting organisations. These sort of incidents seem to be coming more and more commonplace and the powers that be pay each incident the same lip service before sweeping it under the carpet again. If Sport were to be considered Society in microcosm, as it sometimes is, then its a society that needs changing.
Sports certainly teach many valuable life lessons, discipline, a winning attitude, perseverence, esprit de corp to name just some. But when it becomes imbued with the macho posturing that plaques society and the self-image of young men in particular, something more than pious bleatings are required.Phrases like “its a mans game” abound as some type of reasoning for behaviour which in the normal course of events would have somebody arrested. If this violence is part of the normal social conditioning for boys and men, it needs to be challenged.
At our Taekwon-Do school in Loughshinny in Co. Dublin students are introduced to an environment where ideals like respect, integrity, and courtesy are held up as the greatest virtues we can embody. While physical fitness and technical prowess are very important, it is the development of fully rounded, compassionate citizens that is paramount. We believe that self-defence is not just about kicking and punching but addressing and challenging the dominant paradigm for “normal” behaviour in our young men.