The Dangers of Anger

A friend of mine – also a highly accomplished Martial Artist – posted a very thought-provoking video yesterday of a young man throwing a full-scale temper tantrum at his teacher. To feel frustration, disappointment, some upset is to be human – it will happen in life. But to get to a point of anger and rage is simply not okay. Ever. Even when there is no physical violence, the words and actions can still be as damaging as if there were.

He posed some very interesting points about why people react this way (because it isn’t a response, it’s a reaction), about avoiding the discussion because it’s too close to home, or because we have differences in opinions (which are nothing more than the lenses we’ve gained through our experiences)…

As a Martial Artist myself, and someone also studying a personal protective defense system, my priority is non-violence. My priority is to have enough wherewithal to exercise control of my person and my reactions / actions / words, even when pushed to the point of anger. I had coincidentally just posted a snapshot of an article I read on a plane this weekend speaking to the very idea of walking away, of non engagement. . .

This teen’s anger is horrifying on so many levels. Respect (in my own world) is of the utmost importance – the things that are said, and the actions taken, are testament to the complete lack of respect for another human being. . .and they can, as above, be as damaging as if the teacher was struck physically.

This also calls to mind the idea that help is desperately needed – but I wonder whether it would be sought, or if someone who knows him would every attempt to initiate that conversation. Sadly, I doubt it. I suspect he will go on to injure himself or others in some way…

It isn’t my training that has me thinking this way, though, but rather that I too am human and have never liked confrontation. Human beings are “flawed” by nature but we have the capacity to be empathic, compassionate, and loving – we have the ability to learn control of all aspects of ourselves and to do good in the world.

I commend the teacher for not reacting as I believe that is what might have kept him safe. The wiser man is the one who walks away from the “show” and doesn’t react to the anger with the same.

 

Martial Arts Humor – Jiu-Jitsu Knee On Belly

SO true!  

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With someone who knows how to be heavy – as in, they’ve been doing Jiu-Jitsu a while – knee on belly feels a lot the car rolling over this poor strong man…  

Martial Arts – Taking Notes

Learning Martial Arts is something you can’t do online, folks. I’ve seen a ton of programs, and even heard about people who have purportedly reached high ranks by completing and online curriculum.  Really!?  I don’t know…I’d be highly uncomfortable claiming a rank without the experience.  It isn’t so much the being found out when you roll with someone at that level who far surpasses your skill and knowledge, but rather the inability to react quickly should you need to rely on your muscle memory in a rough situation.

You have to be in the thick of it, or you simply won’t be able to replicate the techniques the way they are intended.  You might conceptually understand the movements, but without doing them – repeatedly (read: thousands and thousands of times) – those motions will not serve you as you might want – or worse, NEED – them to.  It is both an injustice to yourself, as well as to the Art, to endeavor to attain ranks this way.  

Books, DVDs, online seminars and video tutorials – all of those things are WONDERFUL…as supplemental tools.  I use them often myself (though, more importantly, so have many of the “Greats.”)  Simply put, you have to come to the Dojo and be hands on, or you just aren’t going to “get it.” Martial Arts isn’t just about a sucker punch to the gut, or a kick that sends a heavy bag reeling.  And it’s definitely not about saying “hey, check out my new black belt (that I didn’t have to earn.”)  

Videos are often not permitted at Martial Arts schools either – my Grandmaster (8th Taekwondo, 9th Degree Hapkido, Swordsman, knife throwing, Kumdo etc) is the real deal.  And, he won’t stand for it.  NO VIDEO. Period. You have to show up and put in the dues in order to progress – relying on a video of someone who you replay over and over in effort to imitate isn’t going to get you there. And, as above, on that principle it is forbidden.

The idea is that you learn in the class from an instructor, you practice what you can, and retain what you are meant to retain in that time (everyone is different.)  

Each class allows you to build on previous lessons – with each one, you string more of the “words” or “vocabulary” together until finally you begin to make “sentences” with your movement (I like to refer to the movements in this way – the Art is very much a language where each small piece is a word, or a form of punctuation – once you are able to connect them into fluid meaning, you have your sentences.  As with your own native tongue, the options are endless!)

While in Taekwondo and Hapkido, I relied a great deal on memory, I still had to write a lot of things down.  I would also take videos of myself after learning a movement so that I could refer back when I had a question.

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These days, I never show up to a class or lesson without a notebook – it’s either my Curriculum, or a notepad, and the notes are ample. There is ALWAYS a new detail to pick up, and always improvements to be made – I like to take note of any “Kuden” (secret knowledge in Ninpo / Ninjutsu), tips, tricks, or feedback on what I’m missing…not just the steps of the drill at hand.  

The act of taking notes itself helps to solidify some of the details discussed, but it is also a great resource when needing to refer back.  Sometimes I am the only person jotting things down – we all learn differently and “doing” may be enough for others.  I don’t mind taking an extra moment with my book if I have to, though – I never feel awkward about it.  

Personally, I’m a choreographed athlete – skaters and dancers create routines in advance much of the time, so we know exactly what’s coming.  You show me, and I’ll repeat.  It won’t be perfect, but I’ll have the broad gist, and I can recreate it pretty quickly.

But life doesn’t exactly work that way, does it? Most of the Arts are not designed to be staged (getting mugged on the street isn’t going to play out the way you might think!)

Movements are complex and are there to give you a framework that can help you deter or alter an attack, let’s say – while you need to recreate those steps, they aren’t always going to come out so scripted. It is therefore important to pay as much attention to the details so that you have as much “vocabulary” as possible at your disposal in a non-choreographed scenario. . .which is MOST of the time!  

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I encourage students to take the time to take notes for that very reason – if you can sneak them in during a demonstration, do it.  If you have to take five minutes after class, take a seat and get to it while it’s still fresh.  You won’t regret taking them…but you might regret not doing so.  When you review a technique down the road that you are SURE you had before, it is incredibly frustrating to start over – with detailed notes, you can always catch back up to speed leaving room for further learning, and assimilation of more detail.  

When push comes to shove – and in a rouge altercation in the street, it will! – you want to have as many neural pathways laid down.  Doing is KEY – you have to be present and physically doing the activity.  Taking notes while you’re there will take you deeper into the experience of learning as well, making those memories even stronger.  

DEFINITELY look to additional sources of information for more angles or tips about application, failures, etc.  But don’t expect an online-only course to deliver a certification that’s worth its purported weight – you need to show up first.  Go the extra mile while you’re at it – you will be thankful you did.

 

Martial Arts Humor – JuJitsubees

I came across this and laughed myself silly (if you know to whom I owe attribution, please share!)  

I was definitely a candy monster as a kid and though I generally went for anything chocolate, I might have snagged these (had they existed) simply for the radness factor! 

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Another kid reaching over to take one: “Can I have one of those?”

Me: “TRY IT!  I dare you!”

For more Martial Arts

Battle Bruises

The other day my training partner and I started laughing in the middle of a mount technique – She is awesome about “staying heavy” and totally crushed me from her mount. My chest was beyond sore from class the day before and there was something ridiculously comical about the fact that I could scarcely move (not to mention remember what the heck we were doing!)  I couldn’t quite laugh without groaning from the discomfort but I think most of us in there air on the side of finding humor in the ass-kicking we give ourselves – self-imposed after all!

We kept at it – myself, I have to say, firing on less than all pistons.  I don’t like to half-ass anything but my body was just too exhausted and sore to be as optimal as I’d have liked.  Off we go into another technique and… *PiNcH!* A trap and roll gi grab produced a lovely, almost-instantaneous heart-shaped bruise on my inner arm.  Ahhh… LOVE!

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A few minutes later I managed to totally slam my elbow to the mat.  I’m not sure if it was the impact, or the additional rolling over it by another body but within seconds I knew I’d have another battle wound (really racking them up that day!)

I love being a Martial Arts practitioner and though some days are rough-and-tumble (literally!  “Throw week” is one I look forward to less than, let’s say, small joint manipulation or weapons)…it is very much par for the course.  

A training partner at Ninjutsu the other day was totally out of it – I was admittedly frustrated by the spaciness and unwillingness to at least try.  Some days your body has less power, but you can still make the (mindful!) effort.  At one point he said “don’t really do it” about the block-and-striking technique we were working on at that moment.  Now, with two damaged knees I am the FIRST person to say “go easy,” or “let’s walk through this as we learn, without going to hard.”  But the reality is…you are in a Martial Arts class!  

You aren’t going to leave completely unscathed.  That doesn’t  mean you can’t train smart – you absolutely can (frankly, that’s ALWAYS my goal.)  Still…bumps and bruises happen.  You are going to need to accept that there will be some injuries (hopefully nothing major, however, which I’ve also endured.)  Martial Arts aren’t for the faint of heart by any stretch so it is important to know what you are getting into.  For me…I love to wear my heart on my sleeve…or my biceps! 😉  

My goal is to train as intelligently as I can so my partner and I get through with just a bunch of sore muscles at most.  But…when those bumps and bruises happen, I wear them like jewelry because I’m pretty darn sure I was working hard when I got them!  (I hope tomorrow when I go to try on bridal gowns, the wedding ladies don’t cringe too much! *lol*)

😀

For more of my Marital Arts and Dance jazz…