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  • Shihan Kendall

Your Disaster Personality

“On the other side of a storm is

the strength that comes from having navigated through it.

Raise your sail and begin.”

― Gregory S. Williams

At times like these, I'm so grateful that my students have the Disaster Personality that they do. The "Disaster Personality" a concept developed by journalist Amanda Ripley, whose work has had a lot of influence on the way I approach the self-defense aspect of our Dojo training. Ripley's book "The Unthinkable" is an invaluable resource to understanding how people survive calamity. And the biggest factor in survival, outside of perhaps just sheer luck, is one's "Disaster Personality." Simply put, our “Disaster Personality” is the person we become in a time of crisis. Do we go into denial? Panic? Do we clear our local grocery store out of its inventory of TP, then go home and curl up with the hope of just making it through? Or do we take​ inventory of our options and act on the best one​s​ forward towards being stronger than we ever were? Ripley's conclusions on how to better condition our Disaster Personality is practically a list of the benefits of a martial arts education. Some are obvious: people who train in the martial arts are in better physical condition and better equipped to handle physical challenges and stress. The practice performing in stressful situations, like someone grabbing them, thereby learning how to stay calm in the whirlwind. They are constantly challenging themselves, thereby learning that every challenge can be met. I think it's fair to say that disaster has struck. And while 99% are fortunate enough to not have to worry about our literal survival in the case of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are all going to have to fight just the same to live through this in a way we can be proud of. When this has all come to pass -- and it will -- what will we have done and who will we be, in relation to who we were when we started?

I am proud of my Dojo family and what I've already seen of your Disaster Personalities in the face of these crazy developments. Where some people are freaking out, you have been working out, and reaching out. The sheer creativity I've seen from so many of you this week, as you find new ways to engage the community around you and keep moving forward on your own personal journey has been stunning. But it hasn't been surprising. You are Warriors. It is what you do. With your Disaster Personalities, you will not only survive this crazy time. You will, in all the ways that really count, thrive.

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