Wednesday, May 06, 2015
There are a lot of differences between sports and martial arts, and it is important to understand them - each one can have its' place, but they are rarely interchangeable.
In sports, we can separate the individual from his/her athletic prowess. We can focus on the measurement, the numbers, the points or seconds and forget who they are as a human being. This could be true for legendary sporting "bad boys" like Mike Tyson, Tiger Woods, Michael Vick, even George Best, just to name a few. Even supposed sporting "nice guys" like Pete Rose and Michael Jordan do not have spotless records of conduct - nearly every sports legend has personal character flaws that are distasteful, if not blatantly illegal or immoral.
We can allow ourselves to forgive, or at least ignore, their failings as human beings in light of the excitement they make us feel when we see their sporting feats and share in their victories.
As martial artists, this is not enough.
Our goal is to make great martial artists, and that means great fighters with a deep understanding of the context, history and background of the traditions we teach. More than this, our goal is to make GREAT HUMAN BEINGS - human beings with compassion; human beings who can positively impact the world by going forth to achieve their personal and professional goals using the confidence and self-esteem they develop and polish in the dojo. We want to inspire the next generation of people who will take control of their own lives, take responsibility for their own actions and make a change in the world because they know they can.
At the end of it all, a punch is just a punch and a kick is just a kick.
What really matters is the person you choose to become, and "points" are no substitute for being a bad person just as having money does not forgive transgression.
I wanted Pacquiao to win just like all of you probably did. He seems like a better person, and I wanted him to be the better boxer, too. In sports, it is hard to find the right combination of athletic prowess and upstanding character. In martial arts, we must settle for nothing less. We must expect this of our teachers and training partners, and we must demand it of ourselves.
Becoming the best fighter in the world is worth nothing if it costs us our humility, our respectfulness, or our compassion.
See you at training.