What does it mean to be a Martial Artist? Judging and Independence.

April 30, 2015

After writing this post I have realised that it contains some quite sensitive topics and may contain some opinions which can be interpreted as offensive or cause some controversy but I'd like to add a disclaimer that in no way do I advocate pain inflicted on other human beings and I in no way advocate crimes such as rape. I use rape purely as a topical example and I do not think that it is at all acceptable despite how you may interpret what I am saying. Enjoy the post! 

Welcome to the second instalment of my what it means to be a martial artist series of posts. This week, I'm discussing independence and how it is important for martial artists to be independent in that the martial arts journey is very personal and no two are alike.
At the black belt workshop a few weeks ago (which I mentioned in a previous post), Master Alex Suh of Kuk Sool Won gave us a talk about judging others and how it's wrong. We should not compare ourselves to others and we certainly shouldn't judge others and draw conclusions from how little we know about them. This applies both in martial arts as well as in the real world and its something which I feel needs to be stressed a lot more than it is.
In the real world, for example, I've seen a lot of people judging others for their actions and I can see perfectly why they might think it's appropriate to judge these people but they're completely wrong in doing so. I'm not really one with words when trying to describe things like this but I feel that this tweet by Tyler Oakley sums up what I want to say quite well.
I'm forever seeing people shaming people online who are allegedly rapists and in no way am I saying that I think rape is a good thing because obviously it's a terrible thing but I don't think it's appropriate for these alleged rapists and criminals to receive hateful tweets and messages all the time. Of course if the allegations are true then they've done a terrible thing but I'm a strong believer of giving second chances and allowing them to put their mistakes behind them. It's not fair for people to just draw conclusions and judge people after one alleged wrong-doing. They obviously acknowledge that they've made a mistake and they shouldn't have to live with that mistake for the rest of their lives. They should be given the chance to move on from it and start fresh. Everyone makes mistakes and shouldn't be judged for them. You might know this little thing about them but you don't know their whole life story and you don't know them well enough to judge them. You have to empathise with people before judging them; put yourself in their boots and think "do I really want to send this hateful comment to this person?", "would I like it if someone sent me this everyday?".
Anyway, I've gone off on a major tangent here so let's bring it back to the topic at hand. Maybe I should have started with something a little less likely to cause controversy but oh well, who's there to judge me for it? Hopefully not you!
So let's link this back to martial arts. As a martial artist, you are taking a journey. Not a journey to black belt but a journey beyond black belt and possibly even a journey beyond martial arts; a journey to find your true self. Everyone's journey is unique and cannot be compared with another, just like your skills in martial arts or life may be better or worse than others but that doesn't matter because they aren't you. You don't need to compare yourself to them and you don't need to try and be better than them, nor do you need to point out any of their weaknesses. Of course, you can compliment them and give them constructive criticism but don't compare them to yourself or anyone else. The aim in martial arts is to improve upon your past self and strive to constantly improve upon your present self. The only person you should compare yourself to is your past self. Instead of thinking "wow I'm a lot better than him", think "wow I'm a lot better than myself a year ago". Be independent and focus purely on your journey and your skills. Who are you to judge others when you are still improving? You can judge others when you're perfect and when you've reached the point of not being able to improve in any way. Good luck with that.

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  1. Wow, it's really rare to find a guy blogger!
    This was a really great post. I agree that you shouldn't judge others, but it usually happens subconsciously. When you meet someone new, the first impression is always appearance (what we see before we even hear the person talk), and we already register the person we are meeting based on that -no matter if we want to or not, it happens. That's not exactly what the post is about, exactly, but I think it's kind of relevant anyway. Not all judging happens on purpose.

    I did Judo for a while when I was ten, but I don't do it anymore. Very interesting post, though!

    It would mean a lot if you took the time to stop by my blog, too! Yasmine//Cloudy

    1. Thanks for the response, I always love to get feedback on my posts! I checked out your blog and it's very nice so I followed you, it'd be much appreciated if you could do the same back! :)

  2. So if someone commits an act of rape there's going to be a victim from that crime which may have to live with the consequences forever, the true meaning of scarred for life. But according to your logic the rapist should get a second chance? What if I say that if someone commits and act of rape they're probably suffering from a chronic mental illness. These people are of great danger to the general public and do not deserve a second chance, I'm sorry but I see a real lack of thought in what you've put above, a "liberal do gooder" view for effect as it were. A view that only takes into account the immediate front view of the problem. But that's just my view on this...

    1. Maybe I didn't make my point clear enough to be understood. Another way of putting what I'm trying to say is that, yes, criminals should be punished through whatever means are necessary but once these punishment periods have finished they should be able to return to the real world and carry on living a life where they aren't haunted by their past. People should see past the person's past as a criminal and see them as a new person. Sure, they may not have changed one bit and go on to commit yet another crime only to go back to serve another punishment period, but we can't see every criminal as being like this. Each person is unique and different from the next and they will all respond differently to being punished. How can we possibly say that they will ALL go back to being criminals once the period is up?

    2. I'm sorry but I still cannot agree with you there. People who commit such crimes are going to be suffering with some from of mental illness which is likely to be chronic meaning that if the right social triggers are applied then they could potentially revert back to their previous behaviors. If you look at the statistics, often after a rape offender has committed a crime they will in fact offend again however usually in less serious ways but still will offend. Rape is a rather odd example to use in my opinion as it ends up in debates regarding mental health and that's a completely different story. The argument for people such as rapists not receiving abuse should be more of an argument that anyone with a mental health problem should not be abuse. I could understand using an example of someone reforming from theft as greed or desperation in a certain scenario is not strictly speaking a mental illness but rape is different. As a result I still do not agree with you. As for saying that ALL rapists will not reform then I don't believe that this is true. Yes, some may reform but as the re offend rates are so high then it should be as a protection to the public that these people are not accepted back into society. As you said in the above reply regarding if they do re offend then they will go back for another punishment then this is not how the criminal reform system likes to work because if they are back in prison then they may have taken another victim and as a result it would be seen that the police of out county have failed another victim all because they have been given a "second chance". Unfortunately I still can not condone the use of rape crime and the relation to second chances.

    3. However, as for other crimes such as theft or alike then yes I can agree that these people can put their past behind them for a new future.