David Yap wrote:
There are some key questions we need to ask ourselves:
Why are we in the dojo?
What do we seek?
What do we learn?, etc.
The most important question to me is "What do we learn?". It is not about techniques but it is learning about ourselves. It is about knowing the strength and weakness of others in our environment in relation to ours. The ultimate aim of martial arts is training of the heart (our hearts). It is about maturing gracefully. And what better place to learn all these but at a dojo where on any other day people would attack others with all kind of negative emotions (anger, sulkiness, jealousy, insecurity, etc). Most instructors can teach you how to respond to physical attacks. How you deal with emotional attacks depends your wisdom and maturity.
Part 2 - Dealing with emotional people in dojo
Sometime we become selective with the training partners, we want to avoid certain people with this noble thought in mind, "I wish to avoid (a physical conflict) with that person". The truth is emotional conflicts most time result in physical conflicts. Growth and maturity involves control, management and resolution of emotional conflicts. Change is inevitable, we cannot stop the earth's rotation or its orbits round the sun, but growth is optional, changing our attitude is optional As adults we could understand why a child would throw tantrums and sulk for hours and hours but when we ourselves can sulk over long period of time over trivial events or persons is a serious emotional problem worth looking into. If we don't confront our own negative emotions, we will never grow up and that childishness still remains a big part of our character. We remain myopic and can never see the big picture and despite the materialistic things we have, we are still emotionally insecure and find offense in trivial matters and remarks from anyone.
There was a time when I walked up to a person, bowed and about to say "onegaishimasu"; the person gave me a sulky glance, turned and walked away. Should I feel angry at the embarrassment? No. The embarrassment was not on me and it reflected the attitude and lack of etiquette of that person. At times I got angry at a uke who I felt had jammed me from doing a technique. On reflection, I should not be angry and I should have thanked him/her for that (giving me a realistic situation). The truth is he didn't jam my technique but rather my own emotion did. By triggering an emotional reaction from me (by moving my mind so to speak), he has found the connection to my center and thus both of us have reversed our roles -- I have become the attacker and he has become the defender. The best part about this is that it happened in a dojo environment and no physical harm came to me except for some emotional damage to the ego. He has had provided a scenario that can happen in a real fight or self-defense encounter. There is a lesson or two to be learned here -- address the emotional problem and the technical problem will go away.
Some quotes from ancient Chinese strategies: "To kill with a borrowed knife". Meaning to take advantage of an emotional person to do the killing or remove a problem for you. One could be blinded with hatred and be used a brawn by a cunning person. I rather much prefer this strategy, "Disguised as a pig to trap a tiger" which means pretends to be fool while learning the strength and weakness of an adversary.