Servitude is a state of subjection to a master with a lack of personal freedom to act as one chooses. This subjection may be forced, as it is in communist countries, or it may be voluntary, as it is in the martial arts. Why would a person voluntarily enter servitude? A person may enter voluntary servitude if he or she thinks it will be beneficial to him or her, or the person may be gradually drawn into it over time as he or she pursues some goal, such as a black belt, or as he or she falls under the spell of a charismatic person, such as a martial art instructor.
A volunteer is someone who performs a service or assumes an obligation of his or her own free will. What is the difference between volunteerism and voluntary servitude? I contend—not much.
This discussion is not so much to condemn volunteerism being exploited in the martial arts as much as it is to forewarn potential students of the practice and to remind current students of what they have been sucked into without realizing it. Martial art school volunteerism can be good thing, or it can be exploitation.
- Next >>