Monday, November 7, 2011


This story has been in my head for awhile.
A friend, and competent practitioner of the martial arts, was walking down a city street at night with a friend when he was attacked. Two men jumped them and put the one friend into the hospital with pretty bad injuries. My friend was beaten, too, but not nearly as severely.
Since that night, about three years ago, my friend has completely stopped training as he felt his skills didn't 'kick in' when needed. He has become disillusioned and cynical when it comes to the art form he used to love.
Now, I don't want to write a post about how he should resume training and how it could have happened to anybody etc. Nor do I want to comment on his teacher or his style--as I don't think that was the issue anyway.
Instead, I just think about why he feels the way he does and how I would feel
if that happened to me. Are we allowed to 'lose'? Are we allowed to have 'doubts' and weaknesses'?
It reminds me of how real violence can be, and how instincts differ from person to person.
I know there is a gap in my friend's life to this day.


  1. Good thoughts.

    On my blog I have been writing about the illusion of invulnerability. My injury due to ass kicking reminded me once again that this is serious business. We all lose.

    I believe there is a judo saying about, "You have to accept loss before you can learn to win."

  2. Martial arts training is not a silver bullet.

  3. It is my belief that the mental aspects of the arts are the true goal of any training. If the training (which is as much the responsibility of the student as of the teacher, style, lineage, method of teaching, etc) is not such, then there is little more to it than general health benefit.

    Knowing yourself and your enemy will guarantee victory. This is the knowledge we seek when we train.

    I hope your friend heals and returns. This is another obstacle in life.

  4. I understand the gap that your friend is now feeling. The scars, mental or otherwise, will likely be around for a while. What he ultimately does with them, or what he learns from them, will be a tough journey for him. I wish him the best. Yamabushi is channeling a bit of Sun Tzu in his comments. I'm inclined to agree. You've raised an important issue. Your friend is not alone in this. I feel a post coming on...