Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What is Truth?

The Truth, say the sages of Taoism, is often paradoxical.

I find this to be accurate, as my entire journey along the path of the martial arts has been this way.

As a child, I was sheltered, living in a remote, forested area on the edge of the rocky Canadian Shield. My worries were much more to do with bears than street thugs, and I really hadn't witnessed true violence until my family moved to an urban neighbourhood after I was close to becoming a teenager.

Then I was exposed to violence--in the world around me and on TV--and I found it to be disgusting.

Don't get me wrong, I knew how to throw a hard check in hockey, and I proved to be a decent wrestler in gym class, but the intent behind true violence sickened me.

And it still does.

Again, it is the intent--as much or more than the action--that even in my youth, struck me as primitive.

"Silly monkeys, give them thumbs, they make a club and beat their brother down...." (lyrics from the band Tool, whose singer is a student of Gracie Jui-Jitsu).

Anyway, to skip a lot of unnecessary details, and rescue this post from becoming an autobiography, I'll return to the concept of paradox, which is this:

That many of us studying violence, in depth, are doing so to become less violent humans.

It is paradoxical. And if you were to break it down and intellectualize it you might, perhaps, come up with good theories as to why it is true. Maybe by better understanding specific behaviour we can change it; maybe by increasing confidence and discipline we can better curb our ego's need to prove itself.

But I don't know, for sure.

We all just know the paradox is true.

1 comment:

  1. "Again, it is the intent--as much or more than the action--that even in my youth, struck me as primitive."

    I grew up in an extremely safe place sheltered from violent crime and prejudice, and as a kid I never even got in a fight. But I recall instances where there was potential violence, and the physical part didn't freak me out nearly as much as the ill-feelings I got from the intent. Though I consider myself a martial artist, so little of my thought deals with this area ... perhaps that's bad, and perhaps it should change, but it's the way it is because I've had so little experience with malicious physical violence.

    Certainly there are great paradoxs about violence in martial arts.