Thomas Jefferson reportedly said “I am a farmer so my children and grandchildren can be philosophers.”
Of course, we know he may have been a great farmer, aided in no small measure by servants and slaves, but he was also a first rate political philosopher and not a bad President, either.
History remembers him fondly, even if he embroidered a little in his narrative.
Why do people study the martial arts? Ask them, and you’ll get a lot of answers, including self-defense, self confidence, fortitude, and self-discipline.
Few will fess up to the idea that they’re tired of feeling wimpy at work and when they go out on dates.
And nearly no one will say, outright, “I want to learn how to kill!” but statistically, there are at least a few weirdoes who would love to snuff someone. Hopefully, they’re screened out by dojo management before they learn any serious techniques.
So, what are the best motivations for studying the martial arts?
To me, it’s reminiscent of what Jefferson said.
If our heads are on straight, we learn these skills so we WON’T have to use them, so we’ll be better at avoiding trouble, especially by not having to prove ourselves in interpersonal combat.
(You do know that it is the insecure, the ones who doubt their strength, that feel they have to overreact to the slightest threat, real or imagined. People who KNOW their capabilities are almost always the most relaxed and non-threatening ones in the room!)
In a sense, we learn martial arts so we can be philosophers, musicians, good and gentle people and calm citizens that can go about their business feeling secure from attack.
No dojo hangs out a sign or advertises the slogan, “Learn NOT to fight!” or “Walk away from bullies—we’ll show you how!”
They’d get no students that way because people believe they already know how to run, how to flee, how to act like, what they consider to be, cowards.
They want to learn to stand their ground, attack back, and WIN!
Ironically, they have to study long and hard to get to a point where their motivations and understanding change, where they aim themselves at pursuing peace instead of preparing for war.
Some never reach this point, and that’s a pity.
They drop out of training after achieving a certain level of physical prowess, but this just makes them bigger targets and more likely to incite violence because they fed their egos, instead of enlarging their spirits.
Dr. Gary S. Goodman is the best-selling author of 12 books, over 600 articles, and the creator of numerous audio and video training programs, including “The Law of Large Numbers: How To Make Success Inevitable,” published by Nightingale-Conant-a favorite among salespeople and entrepreneurs. For information about booking Gary to speak at your next sales, customer service or business meeting, conference or convention, please address your inquiry to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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