I have a story from Paterson, New Jersey that I wanted to talk about. It isn’t about it being so far away, it is about the profound effect that Martial Arts can have on several peoples’ lives. Now theses effects can be as miniscule as helping them learn a skill, or as involved as changing the entire landscape of their lives. As I always do, I will start with the story. An MMA fighter saw a house burning in New Jersey. He didn’t think twice when he found out there were people inside. He put his training to different use when he busted into the burning house. He helped rescue the people trapped inside. In the article I read, he said”You cannot last more than 40 seconds. That black smoke will kill you 1, 2, 3, like nothing.” His name is Moutasem Aburomi, and he bravely rescued the residents. Aburomi knows well how long you can last in smoke like this. The house he ran into Wednesday to save at least half a dozen people was burning and filled with a suffocating smoke.
He risked his own safety, but tried to take precautions. Aburomi covered his nose and mouth with his shirt and charged in. “He just run in there, like everybody, screaming ‘get out, get out’ he took people out, ran back in,” said Gilbert Matos, an eyewitness.
Like a movie, Aburomi used his martial arts background to kick down a door on the first floor to get in and help a mother and her two young children escape.
Then, he went back in and headed upstairs where the smoke was thicker and the air was thinner and had to break down another door. But he wasn’t done. There was still a man in the attic. Again, he kicked down the door on the third floor and found a man sound asleep in bed. “Knocked down, I found two beds, one to the left, one to the right with a man with his underwear, and yelled at him, ‘fire, fire, fire!’ Knocked out! He doesn’t know what was going on,” Aburomi said. Aburomi helped that man to safety too and finally got out himself.
What do the people who were watching think? “He’s a hero! There’s not many like that anymore,” said Adrian Rivera, a neighbor. What does Aburomi think? “It is the best feeling that I saved, and I was there to help out, help those people out. I can’t explain the way I feel to be honest. I never felt that way,” Aburomi said. Aburomi says that he now wants to dedicate his life to serving others, saying this was a life changing event for him. Maybe he will get into police work or firefighting. It doesn’t matter which he goes for, it seem like this kid is determined enough to do anything he wants.
Is the background and training in Martial Arts the only factor in making him a hero? Well, obviously not, but I think that under the circumstances we can say that it most likely had a large influence on it.
In martial arts we learn empathy, compassion, courage, fast thinking, reaction, timing, and yes, how to kick hard.
It is certain that he used all of these skills and attributes when he made the conscious decision to put others lives before his own. If he wouldn’t have been there, none of the people inside may have made it out alive. Aburomi himself may have died in the attempt to save them. I say that not a lot of people did, or would have run in to help, but he did. Character and courage were displayed by this young man and those are certainly learned from being a Martial Artist…