This past weekend I attended my first tournament in a couple of years. I wasn’t a competitor this time, I was one of the many supporters and I went to support our students. Two of our students are new to competing and both are unique athletes in their own very special way. Both are also very sweet, good natured, honest, well-mannered, respectful and polite.
I had completely forgotten what it was like competing for the first time, my first time was 23 years ago. Seeing our guys in action brought back a lot of memories and reminded me of how impolite competition can be. Not because people want to be impolite, nerves make people different. Even our own nerves make us different. Things we were sensitive to, we might not be so sensitive to and in some ways we can become over-sensitive. Nerves can create internal noise that makes it difficult to listen to the instincts we ave cultivated in calmer, more nurturing environments. The whole entire idea of competition can just get into your head, affecting your ability not only as an athlete, your ability to just function as a semi-sane person. Cause lets face it, there really isn’t anything very sane about people who train in martial arts and there’s a delightful element of complete insanity, to actually make the conscious decision to enter yourself into amateur competition. The whole thought process and training process for competition is drenched in a nuttery that only your fellow competitive athletes can understand, appreciate and really LOVE. Cause if you don’t LOVE what you do, you would never have the fortitude to train for what we do.
Watching our guys made me realize that we have been far too polite to them. That’s the environment of our school. We have such a humble, fun, intriguing environment of uniquely diverse people who come to share in this learning experience we are all a student of. I’ve never experienced a learning environment quite like ours and I think that’s what made learning difficult for me in many ways too. Learning negates ego, people for some reason are very egomaniacal, even if it contributes to a having a negative effect on people around them, which is what the ego loves, attention.
The Ego Loves Attention… Yes, Attention, I deliberately chose this word over Respect. Respect doesn’t seek for anything extraneous other than the acquisition of more knowledge. Respect runs deep. Attention, just think what the purpose of a clown, in the circus, so many assume this roll in the circus of their own lives.
Ever since Sunday I have been thinking about how to tweak the learning process for the students who are going to be our school’s next generation of champions and it all made me reflect on my learning process and the people I have learned the most from.
The people I have really learned the most from are the Assholes I’ve met in my life, plain and simple. If any of them read this, they know who they are and they are the same people who will always try and characterize other people for being “nasty”, “selfish” or “mean”, because those words are symbolic of their own true character.
People have always asked me how I handle the pressure in the ring and I do have to say that the ring is where I felt the least amount of pressure, because I knew there would be no deceptions manipulated with vocabulary. Nothing exposes a person’s true character more than how they respond to pressure. I’ve always said there is no greater truth serum than the boxing ring and life has proved me right, time and time again.
To me the pressure of competition was a relief from the “pressures” of life. When I talk about “pressures” of life I am talking about the pressures of understanding that people really mean what they say and that whatever anybody says to you, to be mostly a calculated endeavor on their end, for what they are trying to manipulate for their own greed, vanity, selfishness.
It wasn’t the goodness in people that sharpened my skills and it wasn’t kindness that has helped me read the person behind the mask almost everyone seems to come with nowadays. It was always someone shady and from some toxic background of self manufactured “fabulosity” who taught me to put my foot down and become stronger from their manipulations. It’s also teaching me to trust only actions, no matter what emotions they have learned to emit or vocabulary they have learned to twist.
Learning from the misgivings of those manufactured from a synthetic way of life teaches you the gratitude for being able to live a life, organic and from the heart. You never realize how much more the people who have created a synthetic existence actually teach you about the treasure of living with Dignity and Integrity.
On that note, I have adjusted the training for our new competitors to be rough and without apology. Maybe a little nasty at moments too, because nothing has taught me better lessons than the people who have taken advantage, lied, manipulate and have hurt.
They have made me stronger and have helped me keep the quality of my life up to the standard my parents have raised me by.
Thank you to those who taught me the lessons which those who love me could never hurt me with.
Pain is temporary, triumph lasts forever.