“Ego in the Martial Arts” by Patrick Parker

“As a freshman in college I was a State Champion in karate. I worked out all the time and was proud of my flexibility and kicks. One day, I was sitting in my room in the freshman dorm with my circle of friends and with one guy who had sort of insinuated himself into our circle. Nobody liked him. He was arrogant and annoying – and I was far from the only guy that thought so. Let’s call him Q-. Well, we all made some excuse to leave the room and go eat together or something. Nobody invited Q- and we all hoped he’d get the message, but no, he hopped up and started out the door to go eat with us. I was seething at his boorish insensitivity as I walked out the door with Q- right behind me. (I’m sure there was a girl to impress in the group or something too).”

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  1. Bruce Baker says:

    Maybe I am the crazy one, but isn’t there a natural ignorance we all possess? The natural competition of our animal instincts to dislike, to compete, to gather allies as well as decide who is in our circle and who is out of our circle is as much part of our senses sending signals through-out our body to our brain as it is our brain deciding what we like or don’t like?

    And yet …. pause here and think a minute … and yet … a smart person will consider the larger picture as they let people into their circle of keep them out.

    The gravitation of people towards people they respect, or seek to gain something from those who have something you seed, or simply accepting people for their circle is one of the strangest yet natural human behaviors we should be studying from the time our child eyes and mind begin to understand we are part of the world around us, and yet it is one of the least studied animal behaviors. Yes, we are animals and too often we act like animals reacting first instead of thinking.

    Maybe that is part of that saying,” … when I became a man I put away childish things”, but indeed to correct the thinking we have as selfish children, the actions of the actual person, for the human being struggling to become a better person in a world of competition, it is a long difficult road to walk.

    There doesn’t seem to be a shortcut to gain such knowledge, no magic drug, no set of practices, no course of study, and yet …. in some ways … we allude to martial arts being one of those short cuts and courses of study that can help to shape the human animal into a better human being. Well, maybe it can, maybe it does.

    Maybe the quiet voice of reason is being humbled by being the instructors crash test dummy. Maybe the secrets to all knowledge is learning to play as a team member with all kinds of different people with all kind of different skills, temperaments, and not having a riot ensue when someone has their feelings hurt, or someone is put in their place by being physically manhandled during some phase of practice.

    Maybe … and you have to think about this when you finally get past that magic forty years old birthday … maybe we are struggling against something nature put in our very genes to be aggressive so we as human beings would survive and evolve as part of that animal kingdom.

    When you realize in your teens that for the next twenty or thirty years it will take until you are nearly fifty years old to control the very nature of what you are in a world of chaos and aggression, you just might keep that in mind next time you get out of control and need to adjust yourself for whatever transgression you commit or others commit against you.

    Knowing is half the battle, and even if you don’t know what in the world I am talking about, know that you are struggling from child-hood into old age to understand and control the animal nature of your mind, your body, your place in the world around you.

    This idea, this knowledge, might make you the strange outcast from the group. Instead of following the crowd. It might seem against the nature of everything you have been taught not following your instincts. But, to do what will seem like stupid things in retrospect, or stupid the morning after, you just might tone it down enough in the moment something is happening to be a real mature human being who changes the world with a word, a look, an attitude encouraging the group to behave instead of seeking to misbehave during those turbulent growing years of child into mature adult.

    I can’t say that any of us won’t want to pursue the pleasures of life we see others enjoying, or pursue the wealth power, prestige we see others attaining, but I can say we should all stop to think before we leap into the fire we have built by our our own actions our own decisions to leap before we look.

    Do everything in moderation with the thought you are going to live to be very old, and if you do it in moderation … you will be healthy in mind in body instead of sick, diseased, or dying much too young to enjoy life to the it’s fullest measure. Isn’t that what learning all these skills and knowledge is about anyway … to preserve and protect yourself and others in an attempt to gain long healthy prosperous life of full measure?

    I guess what I am saying is that there is enough dangers and perils out there along the road of life you don’t need to inflict more by being the animals we all really are despite our illusion we are more than we are. Knowing is half the battle to changing the world, and all I want is for more people to be aware of their behavioral nature so they think before they do something stupid, ya know what I mean?

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