The Obsession with Phony Martial Arts Power
The degradation of Martial Arts in America, what I sometimes refer to as Fake Martial Arts Power, has several causes.
One of the causes of fake martial arts power is the dumbing down for the instruction of children. Another would be protective gear. Then there’s tournaments and commercialism, and so on.
The biggest cause of fake Martial Arts power, however, I believe has to do with the obsession for Power. The reason I say this is because it tends to infect instructors, and instructors are the door to the future…be it good or bad.
Simply, when a person uses the art to seek power…he loses the art.
Power over others. Power over students. Power to put one above…which puts others under, and thus degrades the art.
The best Karate teacher I ever met was also the politest. In addition, he rarely spoke.
In seven years he said maybe a dozen things to me. Things like, ‘A tight fist is a heavy fist,’ and ‘there are many ways to the top of the mountain,’ and, the ever enticing, ‘how’s work.’
He simply didn’t talk. Even on the mat, he would simply say, ‘turn your foot,’ or ‘sink your weight,’ or, during incredibly potent demonstrations of power, instead of a kiai he would say, ‘Wham!’
Yes. Wham. Unbelievable.
Now I see people giving ornate instructions on bowing eighteen times and the correct angle of the head and the significance of the ancients.
Talk, talk, talk.
And it is all an obsession with power.
Listen to me. I’m saying something important! Listen!
Instead of doing the forms.
Too much talk and not enough work.
When there is less talk, there is more silence, and in silence the lesson can be learned.
When there is less talk the student won’t be overwhelmed with words, but able to be struck by a simple sentence, or even just one word.
The desire to talk is a desire to explain, instead of letting the student experience.
The desire to be the ‘authority’ reveals the weakness that one is NOT the authority, and is relying on talk to disguise that weakness.
The desire to be an authority, to make people listen to you, is an attempt to subjugate people, which is the mark of a teacher in fear.
A teacher who doesn’t understand what he is teaching.
A teacher who doesn’t understand what he is teaching, and is trying to cover that fact up.
That’s what it means in The Tao…no high without low. A description of why a person obsessed with false power puts people under.
A false desire for power over others, by making others listen, subjugating them to words, making yourself an authority.
That best Karate teacher I mentioned? The one who rarely talked? He didn’t seek power. He did the art, and power came to him. Real power. Not the false power of admiring masses, but the power of true ability in the martial arts. He knew what people were going to do before they did it. He could touch an eyeball with a finger that could penetrate a board and leave a hole.
He did the art, until the art did him.
Let me bring it home with this loose analogy.
As soon as you care what somebody else is doing…you’re a politician.
The alternative is to be a craftsman. An artist.
Not bowing masses, not admiring throngs who have accepted your empty teachings as substance…but a personal self worth that is silent, needs no admiration, and is the human being at his best.
This has been a page about the obsession for false martial arts power.