Advocates of compulsory health insurance plans will often ask rhetorically, “What if you got hit by a bus?” Yet we all know that the relatively poor health of America today isn’t the result of some freak accident. It wasn’t the shark attack, the falling piano, or the runaway Prius that has led so many of us to physical (and financial) ruin.
The real cause is inappropriate conduct. It is, primarily, neglect and disregard for the effects of diet, exercise, environmental conditions, and other factors under our imperfect but substantial control.
As a holistic form of exercise, martial arts can arguably be classified as health care. Experienced practitioners also recognize it as a form of health insurance. Daily practice provides a richly detailed baseline against which latent health issues can easily be observed, and hopefully corrected in their earliest stages.
Those are the straightforward facts; now here is the tricky part: we can use martial arts to insure and ensure our health, but how do we insure the practice itself?
Unfortunately, many martial artists seem to rely upon faith-based insurance plans–plans consisting, first, of faith that the traditions of their (ancient or modern) style function as intended; and second, of a belief that their own personal practice is congruent with the canonical methods and standards of the style. And the only evidence required by these plans, is the testimony of one’s own teacher.
If we were to structure a martial arts liability insurance plan in the style of conventional health insurance, it might look something like this:
- The student selects, and pays a premium to their chosen provider.
- They study what initially appears to be an excellent style of martial arts.
- After investing years of time and effort, they finally learn otherwise.
- The student files a claim with their insurance provider for tuition reimbursement, plus pain and suffering.
- For one reason or another, an adjuster rejects the claim. (That is how they make their money, after all.)
So, are you interested in signing up for this plan? I should hope not. Here is an alternative.
A serious student of martial arts should make a serious effort to meet, and compare notes with their peers–especially peers from outside their own school. There is no better way to get an accurate assessment of one’s own strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement; to insure and ensure the integrity and continued fruition of one’s study.
Meeting martial arts practice partners can be awkward and difficult. You can simply walk into someone else’s school and ask, but that is easily interpreted as an outsider’s challenge (with dangerous consequences). You can post on a message board, but that only works if other locals are reading the same board at the same time. Fortunately, a new online service makes the chore of finding partners a little bit easier.
DojoScore.com is, to my knowledge, the one and only website specifically created to help martial artists seeking practice partners. After entering your address and chosen style(s) of martial arts, DojoScore allows you to search for and chat with like-minded students in your local area. Unlike other generalized “exercise friends” and social networking services where martial artists were clearly an afterthought, DojoScore is tailored specifically to the unique needs of the martial arts community. Matching up practice partners is only one of the services they provide, and for free.
Free martial arts insurance? Finally, a reform proposal we can all support!