Sunday, June 18, 2006


Do you ever sit down and think about the absolute random things that came together to create you? Not just the one in a million chance that that particular sperm would fertilize that particular egg in order to make your particular genetic combination. Other stuff.

I'm priveleged to know a few of the people who read this: extraordinary fighters and musicians; insightful, incisive, curious, warm friends. What magical combination does it take to make a Mac, a Kami, a Kevin or a Kai? (that's what you get for signing your comments).

The intersection that is shaping my life right now is twenty-five years of martial training combining with fifteen working the jails. But that's not the whole story. From listening to my seniors in the exciting, fast-paced world of Corrections it seems that a few years before I joined there was a level of unprofessional brutality and corruption that was tolerated and encouraged. I could not have stayed in the field if that was the case. I have no problem with using violence for a clear, justified and legal goal. I DO need a clear difference between the good guys and the bad guys and I need to be one of the good guys.

So I entered the field at the time when we were still expected to have the old skills- to be able to enter and finish a fight quick and hard, to recover from ambushes and prevail, not to back down from weapons or numbers but were discouraged from using them just to bolster our authority. Without moral hesitations, I could get into the physical stuff with an inner purity which made a lot of things possible.

If I had come in ten years later when the attitude had shifted to a very hands-off approach and the introduction of OC (pepper spray) to the facilities had started making people more tool than skill dependent, it would have been a different story. I might have been one of the "Five year rookies" still waiting for that first big fight.

When the corrections tactical team started it was essentially an unarmed SWAT team. Hostage rescue, riot control, cell extractions, barricaded threats... and no firearms. No problem. Strategically and tactically, it was a bad concept. But there was no more perfect way to intersect unarmed martial arts and real life.

This window of time fit perfectly with my training and my temperment. That's a lot of coincidence. Or a lot of luck. Give a thought, today, to the intersections of your life.


Anonymous said...

I think about those intersections all the time. Moving cross-country, joining a particular writing group, going to a particular party thrown by a member of that group, Kai coming to the party to keep a friend company, tracking her down afterward...a lot things had to happen just so. Otherwise I'd never have met her, much less married her!


The Moody Minstrel said...

I know exactly what you mean. If my parents hadn't gone to great lengths to prevent me from majoring in music in college I never would have wound up in Japan...which has been the best thing to happen to my music! (Of course, there was also that bizarre, openly favoritist chemistry prof that convinced me to give up my science major, the corruption in the system that wound up preventing me from going to Germany, etc...)

It's things like that that make me wonder whether it really is all a bunch of random coincidences or whether strings are being pulled for the sake of keeping me on a particular path. When I really get to wondering about it, I crack open another beer and start thinking of a new song or story...

(BTW thanks for the compliment!)

Kai Jones said...

It's not just the intersections, it's how you choose at them. And we have only very limited ability to judge (or value) how things would have gone differently (after all, it's a pointless waste of time and energy, there's life in front of me to be lived).

Lately I've been thinking more about the random (and not-random) circumstances that created the people who had an affect on me for better or worse. What made my mother the person she was?

Since you wrote the hero piece, I've been searching for signs of a mentor in my life, whether in the past or the present.

Rory said...

Sometimes, if you are very strong, you are your own mentor.

Anonymous said...

The Universe is infinite, unfathomable, timeless, but consciousness makes it all small, knowable, timely. And with such few conscious beings in such a small area, intersections are unavoidable. It's a wonder we don't end up tripping over each other. We are all connected, it's our limited awareness capacity that limits the path we walk and the number of gates we recognize.

The Moody Minstrel said...

It's also the obstacles that life sometimes throws up in your face that keep you from making certain turns.

Of course, whether you are deterred by those obstacles or overcome them depends on the choices you make, as Kai pointed out.