Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Let's Fight

"Let's Fight" said my seven year old son to me.
He was not kidding. He was mad. I did not oblige.

It raises an interesting topic, though.
We train in martial arts, which is fighting.
We are surrounded by violence which is all around us on TV, in movies, in books, in music, in sports (but hopefully not in our everyday lives otherwise). Violence is glorified. It's cool.

We have busier and more stressful lives than our parents and grandparents did (except those who went to war). This leads to road rage, air rage, murder/suicides, stabbings, domestic violence and other "anger management" issues.

Is fighting really so glamorous? Is it cool?

The last time I got in a fight, a real fight, was more than twenty years ago. People got hurt. Permanently hurt. Luckily not me. Luckily no one died. Luckily I did not end up in prison. I still think about what happened and will regret it for the rest of my life. If I could take it all back I would without a moment's hesitation. It was not cool.

Fighting is a lot like hunting. It sounded really great until I stood over a dead animal and had to dress it. The blood, the sounds, the smell was so revolting I found out quickly why my friends suggested bringing a bottle of bourbon. Fighting, when your life depends on it (and you should never fight otherwise), is a messy business. It is all over too fast. For those of us with training, the likelihood for someone to be seriously, permanently damaged is very high, and usually "sorry" is not good enough afterward. Once weapons get involved it goes very fast from bad to worse, and people can get very dead very quick. As my original teacher told me "it's actually really hard to keep them alive". Suffice to say, some things when done cannot be undone.
As an example, check this tragic story:

Proper training with a proper teacher should help every student realize that the training is like an insurance policy; not to be taken out until you need it, and when you do you are likely to need it pretty badly.

I have said in other posts, the goal of the training is to learn the truth about yourself.
Fighting has no real place in that. We have to learn to do the harder thing and not give in to the temptation to solve our problems and frustrations with violence. As martial artists we have to be bigger than that.

This is the real lesson I want my son to learn.

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