Sharath Jason Williams (front, center) talks to a student, Bruce (front right), after he starts to cry during an initiation test.
YouTube screenshot

On July 26, the Cave of Adullam Transformational Academy, a faith-based Detroit group that teaches boys and young men the art of Mūsar Rū—which uses meditation and martial arts to help students learn discipline—posted a video of one student's initiation test, during which the 9-year-old bursts into tears.

In the video, the young boy struggles to break through a piece of wood with his fists as part of the test.

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Now that video has gone viral, having been viewed over a million times, mostly because of the motivational speech the instructor, Sharath Jason Williams, can be heard giving the young boy.

Instead of reprimanding the boy, identified only as Bruce, for his tears, Williams encourages them.

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"Why are you crying?" Williams asks the young boy.

"Because it is hard to punch through with my left hand," Bruce responds in between tears.

"You know in life there's going to be things harder for you to do than other things?" Williams asks. "And do you know those things that may appear to be hard to do, you're going to have to do as a man regardless?"

"I don't mind you crying. I cry a lot, too," the instructor adds. "And it's good to cry, so you can work through that emotion so that when it arises again, you can push it to the side and do what you got to do.

"Being a black man in this country, you're going to need mental fortitude," Williams says.

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In the description beneath the post of the YouTube video, the academy wrote, "We decided to share this part of his initiation test to encourage all of you to not only allow your sons to cry when facing emotional stress, but more importantly, patiently walk them through it.

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"During these perverse times, it's truly vital that we, the men and fathers of this generation, do not allow our boys to grow up with a false sense of masculinity like many of us did. As a result, we have a mass amount of emotionally unstable men walking in unresolved anger, confusion and depression, instead of power, love and discipline," the description continued. "So we place strong emphasis on allowing our recruits to openly express their emotions, so that we can teach them how to use those emotions to their benefit, and become a comprehensive man of God."

On social media, people have been praising Williams for his approach to the trial and the kind way in which he spoke to Bruce. 

Watch Bruce's full initiation test below:

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