Saturday, 23 September 2017

Forgiveness and the Martial Artist

I know that Zen Buddhism or Taoism is not part of martial arts training for most of us. Over here in South Africa I think a lot of Christian parents would pull their kids right out of a dojo if anything remotely Buddhist-like rears its head there...

It seems, however, that lots of decent, upright, churchgoing folk can appreciate a good sports metaphor when we talk about life.

Heihachi's son and grandson won't forgive him any time soon... Then there is his own conscience...

I suppose the reason for this is that sports have a way of revealing a lot about a person's character. We notice the daring, the cautious, the cowardly and the courageous. We see when someone has gained momentum and is riding high on a wave of positive energy and when some have already accepted defeat and are now only going through the motions.
Fighting in itself, either is a sport or in the case of a real fight has a lot in common with sports in the sense that a fight has a winning and a losing side and that winning requires the right state of mind, preparation, effort and so forth.

So- what does forgiveness have to do with any of this?

Knives managed to forgive Scott! 

Well... you see- life, just like in any fight, has its ups and downs. That is true for all of us. The only difference between those who manage to overcome the odds and emerge successful and those who get dragged down never to get up again is how these people deal with adversity.

Those who do not forgive very easily allow bad luck to affect them long after they have first met with it and this failure to let past events go leads to even more bad luck being created. Now- believe me- you can be as positive as Barney the Dinosaur and you will still meet with bad luck, but dwelling on that for too long afterward has you much worse off than those who have just moved on.

Unless you are one of Steven Seagal's many untouchable characters it is a given that if you fight you will get hit. It will hurt.

A large number of fighting strategies involve using pain or emotional distress to impede an enemy's fighting ability. Most humans get angry, upset and feel pain.

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In tournaments we know all to well of those coaches who tell their boys to give the other kid a good punch in the nose at the beginning of a match just to "rattle" him enough. It is a proven method to ensure victory.

It is one of the oldest principles in fighting strategy. Stay focused, mess up the other guy's focus.

Forgiveness is actually the result of focusing on that which is important. If your goal is to knock out your opponent, getting angry about the hits that you have taken is not focusing on that goal. 

Rolling with the punches and not giving up until your opponent lies out cold is... 

Whatever goals you may have in life, thinking about those who wrong you along the way is not part of the plan. In fact- hating them and refusing to let go will hold you back.

In the end you can't completely control what happens to you, but you have control over what you do and with that you can already accomplish a lot.

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