Wednesday, March 15, 2006

What Do You Want?

There's a constant interplay in our heads between the world and how we want or expect the world to be. Because of my interest, I see this mostly in the concept of martial arts versus the world of violence. I just read an article by someone describing 20 years of training- he's trained and trained hard for many years with people who most martial artists consider legends. One of his stories is about finding a traditional Chinese instructor with a small dojo. The instructor talked and trained mostly in the esoteric aspects of his art. When the author asked him about practicality, the instructor said that practicality was simple and didn't interest him anymore. The author, of course, asked for a demonstration. In a matter of seconds, he got his balls handed to him. By an older, slower, smaller, less athletic, traditional, meditating...

The author shook hands and chose not to study there. That puzzles me.

If he was looking for effective, why did he run away when he saw it? Was it because the fight (wrong word, it was more like a demonstration) that he lost so spectacularly didn't look or feel like the image of a fight that he carries around in his head?

Fighting for your life is very simple. It is very quick, or you lose. It is very ruthless, or you lose. It is maximum power and speed applied where it will do the most good. And all the while, someone is trying to do the same thing to you and he started first.

Sometimes the strongest wins. Sometimes the fastest. But usually it is the meanest. If you decide that you are going to beat me and I decide I am going to hurt you, hurt you so bad that you wake up crying every night for the rest of your life, I will win. If I decide that this is going to be the worst day of your life and I don't care what I have to pay to make it happen, I will win. When I embody your pain with absolutely no concern for my own life, I will win.

Most people have never faced this mindset. Most have never felt it. Thus, they can never comprehend it. And they are happier for that lack. Trust me.

So, when and if you look at your martial arts, think about what you want. If you want a good exercise program, go for the one that works. If you want trophies and belts, go for it. If you want to learn about violence and defending yourself, those aren't just words. Those are pain and fear and ruthless simplicity.


Anonymous said...

It comes to this for me: I am willing to die and eager to kill. Simple. What makes me a good guy instead of bad? It's a thin line. Upbringing? Behavioral conditioning? Genetics? Dumb luck? Or maybe it's the people that have loved me and allowed me to love them. Interesting.

Anonymous said...

Love is strangely powerful in this. The people I love and the people who love me are the touchstone. Without them, it would be easy to slip into the chaos and play by the chaos rules. Loving and being loved makes sure that what you do is for _something_. Without that, you can become what you hunt.- Rory