Monday, June 30, 2008

Head Cases

Head cases abound in the martial arts. People join for any number of reasons. Motivations range from fear to curiosity to a search for enlightenment. Most people don't stay; the work is hard, the routine is boring, and well, some of the other students are head cases. Of course THAT logic is circular. Some comedian said that one out of every three people is really ugly. So if the guy on your right and gal on your left look OK, go buy a bag for your head.

About the time you're convinced you're the only sane one in the room, is about the same time you're being tied up, sedated, and provided with all cartoons all the time. Accepting for the moment that I am one of the sane ones, there really are some head cases in the arts.

For instance, there's Mr. I'm-more-humble-than-anybody-else. This is a self-proclaimed achievement that is, of course, ironic on its face. Humility is one of those attributes you really can't strive for. It's like wet soap, the harder you try to grasp it the more elusive it becomes. Humility is something that happens inside you while you're struggling to see inside others; to see their hopes, their concerns, their dreams.

I think it was Will Rogers who once said, "It ain't bragging, if it's true." Well, there's stating a truism, and then there's bragging. I don't mind someone coming in and saying they participated in a tournament and were awarded First Place, or Grand Champion. That is cool news and certainly worth sharing.

But I have to draw a distinction between that and the guy who has ten or more Grand Champion Trophies (placed in the front of the training studio) and has won every tournament this side of the Great Wall, telling us how he was pretty sure he wasn't going to win that last one because his form (pattern/hyung/kata) is a little shaky. Give me a cinder block break! Mr. Trophy lives and breathes tournaments, he strategically makes sure he is never the first competitor (always gets an average score) or the last (never gets highest or lowest), and begins working the room a week before the judges sit down. I'm not suggesting he's not worthy of the awards, I can see that for myself. It just loses something when the trophy winner is the trophy spokesman.

Ms. I-hate-men is always fun to work with. I'm not sure what is going on in her life, I only know that I am a surrogate for whomever wronged her last, best, or most. Being teamed up with I-am-Woman is the equivalent getting a root canal from your boss. When it's all over you can only smile and say, "Great job, and my business suit will hide most of the contusions."

I suppose my favorite unfavorite is Mr. Martial-Arts-Is-Serious, i.e. Mr. We-Don't-Laugh, Mr. Unapproachable, Mr. I-Kill-You-With-But-A-Glance. Sigh, I'm sorry I thought were all indigenous to the same planet. Your abilities are not enhanced by the presence of a yellow sun Kal-El. You and I share about 99% of the same genes as an orangutan. And by the way - you fight like Gilligan.

All in all, most of the students are normal, well-adjusted regular folk and exhibit the same level of sanity as me. Frankly, I'm wondering what they're writing in their blogs.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting and funny stuff here. Of course, I do suspect that the Master hates men AND has too many trophies. Dr. NaCl


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