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Old 08-05-2005, 12:55 PM   #62
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Re: Does Budo require a sense of shame?

That is a good point Rob -- about trying to avoid extremes. To that, I think we should also add that we should try to avoid being reactionary. I think we may do this a lot, even having it go unnoticed in our training.

For example:

- One guy comes in talking all about Japanese history (even inaccurately) and does not ever want to realize the importance and centrality of the mat, and then we go on to dismiss any and all legitimate interest and knowledge in Japanese history.

- One guy comes in and he's all into the theory of the art and cannot for the life of him come to embody any aspect of his obsession with theory, and then we go on to denounce theory and/or any position that claims that theoretical analysis must play a significant role in our training.

- One guy comes in all "spiritual," full of airy things, with no feet on the ground, and then we go on to reject such considerations as distractions from what is "real."

- One guy comes in all hippied-out and talking Zen and then we hate Zen.

- One guy comes in all into fighting and self-defense and misses the bigger picture and then we go on to reject any sense of the martial in our training for fear of missing the "bigger picture."

Etc.

In the same way that we are trying to avoid the extremes, in my opinion, we should also seek to avoid being reactionary -- because it often inspires us to adopt an extreme. If we come up against some serious guy that seems to be missing the bigger picture, the objective, I feel, should not be to reject his seriousness outright. Rather, we should seek to purify what is incorrect about his seriousness -- to learn from his mistakes by noting what is wrong in his understanding of how seriousness can play a role in regards to our overall training investment. When we want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, even for the best of intentions, I think we are acting in a reactionary way and thus we are very prone to adopting extremes. When we adopt an extreme, its just another way of saying that we are allowing ourselves to be totally ignorant about a whole lot. That is why I think your advice is such good advice.

David M. Valadez
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