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Global Reach Local Awareness

I decided to write this post after a thought about major companies around the world such as Starbucks, McDonald’s and KFC. My thoughts originally centered on the fact that these people have a global presence that is driven at a local level. That kind of got me thinking about how with all the different cultures, languages and local conditions they could for the most part deliver a consistent product and message.

What does that have to do with martial arts, you may ask? Well, back in the day we may have had global presence, Bruce Lee was up there on the screen for us all to see, but he had no personal local presence that we can study with.


Today in our academies we host Guest Instructors from around the world. Our instructor team and many of our students have travelled all over the UK and across the world to learn with some of the worlds’ greatest martial art Instructors. The ramifications for this, in my mind, are such that in my early days of training my instructors were taught, generally, by their local instructor in a local environment and had been trained in the same locality.

In recent years, actually for probably 20 years or more I have trained in multiple locations with instructors from multiple nations. While video and YouTube made everything accessible they have also raised the instructors profile who have embraced this medium and made it viable for them to teach seminar tours. At a recent coaching seminar at our Stourbridge Academy we had instructors and students from the UK, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Kuwait all there to study under an American! What do I think this means? Personally, I believe it is taking my training closer to the “source” and may the training more intensive and more in depth. I have developed relationships and friendships with people I would not normally meet, for the most part these being fantastic opportunities to interact with people with a shared interest that I would not normally get. It has allowed me to get a glimpse beyond the national identity or stereotyped person and to actually see that Bruce Lee’s put it so succinctly in the lost interview

“But under the sky, under the heavens there is but one family. It just so happens that people are different.”

Of Course the Lion King does a great job of it in the lyrics of “We Are One” when it says “One family under the sun”

I think it’s good to remember that the martial arts is experiential, that we must experience it as well as observe it and then experiencing the arts we experience interaction between students, between opponents and ourselves.

I personally believe my life, my martial arts and my personal awareness has been enhanced by the influences of other people from around the world, especially by my instructors. They have given me knowledge, purpose, friendship and added in an immeasurable way to the texture and fabric of my life. I thank them all immeasurably. I hope you found this post useful, it would be great if you would share your experience of global presence and local awareness, mine is probably not the way a businessmen would look at it but in my context as a martial artist it holds true for me. As Bruce Lee said we should;

“Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless and add what is specifically your own”

So, if I didn’t follow the accepted meaning, I gave it my own, at least I stayed true to a concept of personal development that I believe in!

How do I believe this changed the last 30 years?

Simple, better training, more information, more direct access to the source of the material and opportunity to meet and share time with people that a local presence would not have afforded. Very positive!!

It also gave a lot of mediocre people a much bigger audience than they would normally get, but that’s the balance of life, I guess, so I’m choosing not to follow that thread.

I look forward to your comments