Monday, July 20, 2015

The Best Fighters Don't Fight

My focus all through my day today seems to be on peace and gentle loving grace, so it seems appropriate to pen the thoughts that suddenly presented themselves to me this morning and offer the wisdom of some excellent fighters to the general public.  In one play by Bernard Shaw we find a scampering, drama loving young soldier demanding a duel against a seasoned, sword instructing Swiss fighter.  The Swiss, bored beyond belief, attempts to avert his poor companion's disaster and concludes with "I'm a professional soldier.  I fight when I have to and I'm very glad to get out of it when I haven't to.  You're just an amateur.  You think fighting's an amusement."  True words.

Rubbing shoulders as I often find myself with excellent fighters I hear quite frequently that the best fighters are those who can resolve a conflict without fighting at all.  I recall asking a dear friend of mine, Rocky, who has found himself in the Black Belt Hall of Fame about the morality of a fight in which my late grandfather participated.  His aunt had endured much abuse at her husband's hands and my grandfather jumped in and leveled said husband to the ground with a threat to kill him if ever he injured his wife again.  Rocky's enthusiasm for my grandfather's fervor proved immediate, powerful, and completely infectious.  He wanted to stand up and shake my grandfather's hand.  But after a moment he cleared his throat, rose to his full height and sobering down concluded that while he couldn't help approving the reason for his fighting, were it to happen here and now, the appropriate thing to do would be to try to talk it out or contact the police.  Ahem...smirk.  

I had asked Rocky's opinion alongside my children's sensei's.  Sensei proved more sober and pointed out several dangers including retaliation which would render my grandfather's fight potentially more dangerous than expected and thus urged peaceful chat instead.  But the next time I happened to see him he looked over at me with a grin that clearly bespoke his approval of my grandfather's sentiments as well.  And in this direction I find the last example of how a professional fighter simply doesn't fight if he can avoid it.  

Whilst sitting in the dojo during my children's lesson one day I happened to find myself texting a friend who sometimes practiced mixed martial arts, and telling him that in the karate school the sensei will take a student's belt away as punishment for misbehavior.  He informed me that he would punch the teacher in the mouth if he presumed to take his child's belt.  Laughingly I informed the teacher that my friend wanted to beat him up.  I completely expected the teacher to snicker at the idea of anyone trying to take him on but his reaction proved quite telling and instructive.  He immediately looked bewildered, astonished, and almost paranoid, and his entire manner clearly said that whatever he had done to prove offensive he surely would apologize for it profusely on the spot.  I relayed to him my friend's opinion of his teaching and he continued to explain that it was a way of maintaining discipline and order, which I already well knew.  Still my friend threatened to "give him a free lesson in jiu jitsu" if ever he dared to discipline his child in that manner.  Sensei, smiling a little in spite of himself answered, "I teach jiu jitsu" and proceeded to tell me to invite my friend to the dojo anytime where they could enjoy a polite and gentle chat, if necessary.  I couldn't help laughing at the situation, for it was much like a yipping little excitable chihuahua trying to call out a sleeping mastiff, who condescended to raise an eyelid, then roll over and continue his nap.  It ended with my finally telling my friend to go ahead, try to beat up the sensei, and good luck.  He never made the attempt.  We don't know why.

We can often gauge how strong we really are by how often we attempt to fight with others.  When we are strong, we look for ways to create peace, give soft answers and practice patient meekness.  When we look for reasons to yell, argue, extend hatred and the like, especially against someone who doesn't seem interested in fighting back, well, we find in ourselves that excitable little chihuahua.

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