According to Dr. C. Eric Lincoln, in his sociological study The Black Muslims in America, “Muhammad urges His followers never to initiate a battle; all Muslims are expected to fight if attacked and to lay down their lives, if necessary, for the Black Nation.”
History records numerous instances of unprovoked attacks of Muhammad’s mosques and schools. Muslim Believers, under the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, though unarmed, consistently prevailed over their aggressors. In addition to his Spiritual Teachings, the Messenger also prescribed military and physical training.
At Muhammad Universities of Islam, it has always been a policy to “combine mental and physical education.” Activities such as military drill and martial arts are among the methods utilized to instill such discipline. Sensei Dwayne Muhammad, martial arts instructor at Muhammad University of Islam in Chicago, is working diligently to aid his teacher, Grandmaster Anthony Muhammad, in helping the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan fully establish a military and physical training program that is driven by discipline. Sensei Dwayne granted us an interview, on this program’s purpose and direction.
M.U.I.: What interested you in martial arts?
Sensei Dwayne: I have always had a passion for sports and physical activity. When I was very young, I met a Martial Artist who taught me [the] basics. He charged me a considerably reasonable rate. I remember breaking my bank to pay for a class. This was short-lived, because of his inconsistency due to a drug addiction. However, I still practiced my blocks, kicks and strikes. Then, in 1997, I met Grandmaster Anthony Muhammad. He invited me to attend a class, and I have been a student of his ever since.
M.U.I.: What are some of the difficulties that you have experienced in your training?
Sensei Dwayne: The only difficulty that I’ve ever experienced with training in martial arts is upholding the high standards set up by my Teachers, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and Grandmaster Anthony Muhammad. When one joins Brother Anthony’s class it is similar to our initial introduction to mosque life, as we tend to bring [with us] our worldly baggage. The Grandmaster, like his teacher, Minister Farrakhan, has a way of digging into that baggage and pulling out the undesirables. To be a student of Brother Anthony is to also be a student of Islam. To be a student of Islam means that one must totally submit his or herself to the Will of Allah. In a recent lecture by the Hon. Min. Louis Farrakhan, at M.U.I., he stated that martial arts were bigger than just receiving a black belt. And now, I am beginning to understand what the Minister meant.
M.U.I.: What is the vision for the M.U.I. Martial Arts program in the upcoming school year?
Sensei Dwayne: It seems that the visions of Dr. Larry Muhammad (M.U.I. National Director) and Grandmaster Anthony Muhammad correlate. They both would like to see martial arts established into an institute with the M.U.I. schools across the [Nation of Islam].
M.U.I.: How should a parent approach their child’s training, in terms of involvement, reinforcement, etc.?
Sensei Dwayne: I once heard the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan say, “When your child comes home from school, teach them again.” I think that a parent should always show interest in any of their child’s activities. As far as the martial arts are concerned, parents should understand the importance of such outlets for children, particularly their male children. If a parent shows interest and makes their child realize that what they are doing is important, the child has a better chance of becoming successful. Yet, the parents must show interest.
M.U.I.: What benefits do the martial arts have on academics?
Sensei Dwayne: When I was in school, I was often thrown off and distracted, due to so much activity going on around me. The practice of martial arts and drill and the discipline that is instilled in a student, gives he or she a better chance of fighting off such mental distractions. The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad desires for us to teach our children self-control, through martial arts and military drill. The true martial art is Islam, because the martial arts student is summoning up the power that would allow him or her to be successful, which ultimately comes from Allah (God).
M.U.I.: Is there any differentiation based on gender, in terms of the training that the students receive?
Sensei Dwayne: Grandmaster Anthony Muhammad said that there is no such thing as a male or female warrior. There’s just a warrior. Therefore, the drills that he gives the males are the drills that he gives the females. He also states that the attacker of a female will most likely be a male.
M.U.I.: What effects is the martial arts program having on the MUI students?
Sensei Dwayne: The program is proving to be a success. Currently, we are teaching the Kindergarten through ninth grade classes. We don’t expect that all the students will immediately grasp the true purpose of fighting, or understand the fullness of the art as a form of self-defense. However, it is good that they are beginning to see the value of knowing how to defend themselves.
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