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I was posting to a fellow member about my search for the right martial art that fit me. As I wrote out my thoughts, I found myself using an experience, as an example of a point; I had when searching for the right martial art for me. The example was about the time I went to a Karate dojo.
I walk into the dojo looking at Karate as a way for my geeky self to learn to kick sum butt. The Karate sensei during our introductory conversation had asked the common question of why you want to take Karate. Well I give me the standard sophomoric naive answer he must have heard hundreds of times of, "I wanted to learn to fight, of course." He told me in short that Karate, referring to all martial arts, will not make a Bruce Lee or invincible.
He then continued to stress the best he could saying that I couldn't make as a real fighter anyway, no matter what I wanted or how I seen myself. My views of how I perceived myself and Karate where unrealistic, pure fantasy. I didn't have the "right stuff." It wasn't a challenge statement, but a fact.
He continued his analysis of me by summing it up with, "You don't have the what it takes to make a good fighter." And adding that I would end up losing (more tournaments fights) then winning no matter what contact martial art I took. He was being deadly honest. He said, if I stayed in is class I would be unhappy and would move on to something that fit me better. He than stress that there is a big difference between how we perceive ourselves vs. what we truly are, and capable of. If I was going to be a fighter, I would already have become so and wouldn't be seeking it. He pause, and solemnly said so truthfully it was felt to my core, that it would be an injustice for him to indulge into my fantasies. It would be irresponsible, unethical and immoral. He offered that if I come back with the right attitude for Karate I would be welcome.
Surprised at his honesty and frankness, which was not the pandering, I got from other places, I felt horribly insulted. What! I thought, Mr. Miyagi just rejected me! Isn't he supposed to take guys like me and turn them into great fighters like that Daniel-san? I came to him so he would teach me how to justly exact revenge on the bullies who threatened me, just as Daniel-san did.
Needless to say, I walked out with my head hung low, ego bruised, insulted, but a bit wiser for it. It was this event, this experience that made me take a more honest look at my geeky self, and realize I was no Daniel-san. I couldn't be morphed from geek to hero, that oxymoron took the last bus out of town. The idea that I could go to a dojo after I got sand kicked in my face, and then later return after just a couple of Karate classes and make the bully suffer from my superior dominance and keep the girl was me hooking into the marketing ploy. I was fooling myself.
When I came upon my first Aikido dojo, my purpose was still in my forethoughts that I wanted to learn to fight and kick sum butt. But this time, while talking to the Sensei I wasn't so open. Because I keep the words spoken to me by the Karate sensei very close. His views did make me think. He seen right through me, he knew that the path I wanted to go on was not what I needed, or should have gone down. What I need was a long road for a greater understanding of myself, I need a resolution in a more peaceful and postive way. I didn't need competition what I needed was growth.
After a time in Aikido, I started to see things differently. I changed and grew out of that quest to strike back at those who dealt me injustice, as a result of Aikido. I matured and became more realistic toward myself and goals I would set for myself. But, every once in a while I still hear the words that hit so hard at my core, and smile knowing how lucky I was to get such a gift of wisdom, and not more mispreception. How lucky was I to be set straight.
It is strange how we see ourselves like though a broken mirror. And yet when the mirror is fixed we tend to be upset by what we see. And rarely see the wisdom we are given when that mirror is fixed to truely seek what we need, and not what we think we need. Aikido may have not been the first step in my transformation, but it was all the rest of the steps, It was just what I needed. For that I am thankful.