Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I'm Sorry if I Offended You

This post would seem to go well with another one about patently offensive language.

I get lot of comments about this blog, although most of them never appear here. Friends email me, I get texts, fellow teachers and students relay comments to me in the Do Jang, while only a few world-wide readers actually post their thoughts online.

Some comments are not fit for a family-friendly audience, so I “moderate them,” which is a subtle way of saying delete.

Every once in awhile I will get a comment from a reader that is upset with my writing, a position I’ve posited, or possibly life in general. Now when I say the commenter is upset, I don’t mean in a “Cheerio my good man, I find your posting to be a bit off the mark” kind of upset. No, I mean angry, inconsolable, name-calling kind of upset.

Name calling? Seriously?

Let me get this straight. Presumably, you are reading this blog because you are engaged in the martial arts. You are either a student or a teacher with some amount of time, probably years, “under your belt.” One of the tenants of the martial arts is that a person’s self esteem, confidence, and sense of well-being will all improve.

As a result of our training, we simply won’t get violent over silly things that don’t matter.

So it always surprises me a little when a reader chooses to comment, and rather than demonstrating an advanced cranial executive function or a highly-developed frontal lobe, they choose language which is confrontational, aggressive, and insulting.

Personally, I love to spar. I love the give and take, the back and forth, the exchange of attack and defense. I also love verbal sparring with a give and take of well-reasoned perspectives based on verifiable facts.

However; colorful metaphors, and derogatory personal pronouns are not verifiable facts, and do not qualify as reasoned debate. These last bastions of the uniformed have no place in the writings or responses relative to martial arts. Surely our training and discipline have elevated our minds to a point where name calling is beneath us.


  1. I've posted here a few times & not all my commentary has made it online. Well, because it shouldn't, it's your blog.

    That's the civilized point that is tossed once the derogatory posters arrive on the scene. People have a choice whether to visit your blog & they have a choice whether or not to participate.

    Everyone wants to win. I get that. To paraphrase M. Meredith, it's PATENTLY silly to act like you're forced to read his material, or likewise, are compelled to reply to it.
    On a normal issue like taking karate lessons....Geesh...

    I have one of M. Merdedith's articles in mind right now that I really think karate-interested parties should read intently. Now I'm afraid to mention it (tongue-in-cheek).

    Social media, the reality is the new weapon.


    I've "trolled" around the internet including MMA sites and such. Here's what I've witnessed.

    Group 1: There's a great number of sports-minded people on the internet who are very involved and up to date with sport fighting. Some of these are journalists who actively write for MMA websites and such. The vast majority are enthusiasts and observers who have little to no martial training. Many of these will fall into the 'wannabees' category you (M. Meredith) see in karate class.

    Group 2: These guys (and lesser girls) are those active in sport fighting or aspire to do so. They have a large personal investment in the sport fighting methods (boxing, etc.) and this is what appeals to them. Some of this group may have tried traditional karate, etc. and found it unsatisfying.

    Group 3: Traditional karateka who perceive and hence practice traditional martial arts as if it were one of the sport fighting methods, basically an athletic exercise. They see karate as an expression of the physical capability of the human body. This group tends to be very technique centric--focused on that physical move which will confound the opponent. Avid cross-trainers also populate here, believing that more variety and particular technique is better.

    You, M. Meredith, have taken the pure TMA path, and have dedicated yourself to TSD.

    Again, all of us want to succeed and strive for the best. And , this includes Groups 1-3, as well as C.S. Kim org.

    The supposition I would like to end is with this. To take offense, how qualified are you to make a judgment about the traditional karate, Tang Soo Do.

    It's clear to me that M. Meredith has written extensively about the traditional karate experience, from throwing a competent punch to operating successfully within a martial arts organization. M. Meredith has created a resource to address the issues.

    If you ignore M. Meredith's teachings, you can still be 'offended.' What you CAN'T do is call yourself 'COMPETENT.' Serious people in the MMA world recognize (still with disagreement) Lyoto Machida's accomplishments. The legitimate don't just talk about Machida in insipid terms, they respect it & strive to understand it by looking to his Shotokan Karate roots..


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