These Students Learn kindness Through Martial Arts

Colorado Tae Kwon Do students must complete 400 random acts of kindness to receive a black belt.

Oct 10, 2019

To receive a black belt at the Colorado Alliance of Martial Arts, students must demonstrate strength of mind, body, and heart. Perhaps to some the heart aspect may feel a little out of place; but not for Chris Natske, master instructor at the institute. He is teaching his students that kindness and respect is an essential part of Tae Kwon Do training.

 That's because Natske is a RAFtivist – short for Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) activist – who are part of a larger global community.

Established in 1995, the RAK foundation believes that all people can connect to kindness and that kindness can be taught and there are resources, curriculums and lesson plans for teachers to use.

The Colorado Alliance of Martial Arts rigorous four-month black belt program requires participants to complete 4,000 push-ups, 4,000 crunches, spar 120 rounds, run 40 miles, and perform 400 random acts of kindness.

Some of the acts of kindness that students record include helping kids in school, taking on extra chores at home, and reaching out to strangers in their neighborhood

“It’s so imperative that we create a well- rounded individual through our program” Natske said in the organization's video The Journey of Kindness through Martial Arts. “It is part of the fabric of what we are trying to demonstrate and show. We have this strength of mind body and spirit that we are demonstrating, but when you combine it with kindness that’s really when you become powerful.”

Natske explained that acts of kindness demonstrate a unique and influential type of strength that is inspiring and contagious. “When you have that strength and you can be kind to others to demonstrate from that place of power its unstoppable, ” he said.

According to Natske, after a certain number of hours kindness becomes, “a basic way of life for them [his students]”.

One participant of the program was determined to complete her third-degree black belt despite incredible physical pain. Incredibly, the determination she felt for physical aspects of the program were paralleled to the kindness component of the program.

She said, “When someone tells you that you have to do 400 acts of kindness, you think about it, and look for it everywhere. It soon becomes a habit; it's not something you need to write down in your book, it's something that you want to do.”

In the four-month period, 27 new black belt students recorded approximately 11,000 random acts of kindness. Can you imagine how much more kindness would exist in the world if everyone was a RAFtivist too?

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5 Random Acts of Kindness that Changed a Person’s Life
How Every Random Act of Kindness Makes the World Better

HILLA BENZAKEN, CONTRIBUTOR
Hilla Benzaken is a dedicated optimist. Her happy place involves cooking, acting, gardening, and fighting for social justice. She writes about all things sustainability, innovation, and DIY.