Philanthropy is the effort or inclination to increase the well-being of humankind. The intellect of an average mind would most likely not point to professional cage fighting as a philanthropic activity. But consider for a moment the positive nature that the legalization, and thus thrust of popularity, fighting has had on our communities.

Males and females are now participating in large numbers in the study of martial arts. These learned disciplines are being shared with countless other training partners. All of these participants are benefiting not only in their respective combative ambitions, but in their non-combative private lives.

The growth of discipline fosters an understanding of respect. That respect translates into the growth and appreciation of individualism. Individualistic pride is thus contributing once again to the lust for freedom and liberty that built this great nation and set it apart from any other previously designed by man.

All of this was of course made possible by removing a “law” and restoring “free will.” Free will is of course what allows for success, failure and thus innovation. There may be hope for us yet.

I have spent this weekend, not at an organized fist fight, but at a fundraiser in North Kansas City. The Northland Holiday Mart, which benefits Safe Place for Kids, was organized for the third straight year by a group of ladies. Many of these ladies have other obligations, including but not limited to: parenting, full-time employment and the general oversight of their husbands. But they still found time to organize a ballroom at Harrah’s Casino full of nearly 50 retail booths, food, beverages and a live band.

Over 600 of their neighbors stopped by in a five hour time span Friday evening to shop and thus raise money for a worthy cause, the housing of abandoned children. No state or federal legislation was required to mandate this good deed. The organizers, whom have spent countless hours preparing this function, will walk away with good karma and the faith of their neighbors. All that work for no money? Definitely not a union job.

Another sweeping outreach effort is underway this fall in Kansas City. Harvesters, founded in 1979, is one of the largest food banks in the Midwest, providing food and related household goods to nearly 66,000 people per week. That demand is of course elevated during the holiday season, sparking the “Tackle Hunger” campaign. This campaign aims to fill the demand during an elevated season.

Many local businesses have stepped in to contribute the funds and other resources needed to meet the demand. And yet again no state or federal mandate was required to prompt these good deeds. Isn’t it amazing how people can come together to provide solutions and innovation for needs in their communities? Many of the countless souls involved in this campaign will not profit a dime from it’s success and will fill their roles after completing their everyday employment obligations.

These are just a few of the examples we take for granted every day. All of the work, sweat, thought, innovation and partnering merely for the good of the community. The only explanation I can conjure is: People like to work; whether it’s getting thumped, organizing a food drive or preparing a ballroom for a girly shopping fiesta. We don’t need mandates, laws and unions to get us moving. Human beings are self-motivated, individualistic creatures. Our lust for human interaction and appreciation is powerful enough to move mountains, or climb Everest.

In nearly three years as a professional fighter on a respectable level I profited very little financially. Eleven professional fights made me barely 10K, but gained me so much more than I would have ever imagined. The lives that I touched and relationships I forged will stay with me forever. My faith has been emboldened and my sense of community has been broadened exponentially.

As we move forward, into the holiday season, let us find the motivation inside ourselves. Let us not phone our lawyer or police officer, but instead knock on our neighbor’s door. Extend a hand or donate an afternoon. Good deeds are rewarded.

Someone asked me recently, “What does ‘Thump A Stranger‘ mean?” I said, “Whatever you want it to mean.” Let the thump be a hug or a handshake. It just might thump you back. And that…is good for the community.

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