As with most any form of martial arts, be it Japanese Aikido, American Chun Kuk Do, Brazilian Capoeira, or Chinese Wing Chun – each requires a level of focus and commitment that surpasses conventional engagement even for most professional sports athletes. This extreme focus and commitment allows the artist to overcome adversity, rise to meet any challenge head on, and to beat all odds.
Smoking is an opponent that is ruthless, unforgiving, and takes lives without remorse. According to the American Lung Association, smoking claims the lives of well over 440,000 people each and every year. Smoking is also behind over eight million people’s illnesses. It cripples its opponent before moving in for the killing blow.
Between the millions of fans of martial arts, amateur martial artists, and professional combatants – including MMA fighters, UFC fighters, and more, a substantial percentage has fallen victim to smoking. This is why it is more imperative than ever for martial artists to become unified in the cause to help end this needless suffering.
The Impact of Smoking on Martial Artists
Among the numerous illnesses and diseases brought on by tobacco use, one of the primary affected areas which may cause the highest impact for martial artists are the lungs. According to the CDC, smoking is one of the main causes of emphysema, COPD, and chronic bronchitis. This lung damage is most often irreversible, and will greatly hinder martial arts performance. Once this damage progresses, it can lead to lung cancer.
However, lung cancer is only one of the several forms of cancer that smoking causes. There are also several forms of blood cancers, pancreatic cancer, esophageal cancer, and more. Though there are treatments for some forms of cancer caused by smoking, success depends on many factors including when it is discovered, how advanced it is, and what specific type of cancer it is.
As professional martial artists have proven, they are more than average athletes. They strive to be the very best on a level that exceeds commonality. They rely on endurance, stamina, speed, mental focus, reflexes, and emotional and physical balance to achieve their personal and team goals. However, there are younger generations that are giving into peer pressure and taking up smoking.
There are individuals who do not realize that their habit is influencing the decisions of others. There are individuals who do not realize that they are not only putting themselves at risk, they are putting family and friends at risk by exposing them to second-hand smoke. These individuals are jeopardizing their safety, the safety of others, and putting their futures at risk. This is where you come in…
We need all martial artists to show their skills in overcoming adversity. Tobacco companies have unnaturally altered the course of history for countless individuals. With the strength of will and character, demonstrating true inner power and commitment is the key to changing the destinies of those who need help. Finding it within yourselves to fight for the lives of others transcends artistry to heroism. Smoking is the great modern plague. Together, we can find the solution. By standing for a cause, we can achieve greatness.