To Fight or Not to Fight?
Wild at Heart. Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul.
Written By John Eldredge
The following is a quote from this book, with some thoughts of mine at the end.
“What’s wrong Tiger? I asked. He wouldn’t say, wouldn’t even look up. What happened? He didn’t want to talk about it. Finally, the story came out – a bully. Some first grade poser had pushed him down on the playground in front of all his friends. Tears were streaming down his cheeks as he told us the story.
“Blaine, look at me. He raised his tearful eyes slowly, reluctantly. There was shame written all over his face. I want you to listen very closely to what I am about to say. The next time that bully pushes you down, here is what I want you to do – are you listening, Blaine? He nodded, his big wet eyes fixed on mine. I want you to get up… and I want you to hit him … as hard as you possibly can. A look of embarrassed delight came over Blaine’s face. Then he smiled. Good Lord – why did I give him such advice? And why was he delighted with it? Why are some of you delighted with it, while others are appalled?”
“Yes, I know that Jesus told us to turn the other cheek. But we have really misused that verse. You cannot teach a boy to use his strength by stripping him of it. Jesus was able to retaliate, believe me. But he chose not to. And yet we suggest that a boy, who is mocked, shamed before his fellows, stripped of all power and dignity should stay in that beaten place because Jesus wants him there? You will emasculate him for life. From that point on he will be passive and fearful. He will grow up never knowing how to stand his ground, never knowing if he is a man indeed. Oh yes, he will be courteous, sweet even, deferential, minding all his manners. It may look moral, it may look like turning the other cheek, but it is merely weakness. You cannot turn a cheek you do not have. Our churches are full of such men.” (And so is our world)
“At that moment, Blaine’s soul was hanging in the balance. Then the fire came back into his eyes and the shame disappeared. But for many, many men their souls still hang in the balance because no one, no one has ever invited them to be dangerous, to know their own strength, to discover that they have what it takes. I feel there is this stormy ocean within me, and I keep trying to make those waters calm and placid, confessed a young friend in his early twenties. I would love to be dangerous, he said, sighing. You mean… it’s possible? I feel like I have to ask permission. Why on earth would a young man have to ask permission to be a man? Because the assault continues long after the wound has been given I don’t mean to create a wrong impression-a man is not wounded once, but many, many times in the course of his life. Nearly every blow ends up falling in the same place: against his strength. Life takes it away, one vertebra at a time, until in the end he has no spine at all”.
This book is written primarily for Men. I’m sure many Women, and some men, would disagree with this ideal.
I think to totally understand the whole concept you need to read the whole book. I do however agree with the logic. Children can not walk away from a fight until they have confidence in themselves. They need to be able to do this not out of weakness but out of strength. This is one of the most powerful reasons for taking Karate, in my opinion. Courage and self-confidence are the backbone of Karate. Knowing you are able to defend yourself or others in need does not mean you have to use it. However if children, or adults, do not have this self-confidence, then they will run in weakness, only to be attacked over and over. Weather this attack is physical, verbal, or emotional. It is my hope, that what ever your personal philosophy is, that you will gain the self-confidence to stand up for what is right, stand up for yourself, stand up for others, when that time comes. I hope Karate will help give you that strength. Not just through the ability to fight, but be the lessons you have learned by performing in front of other people, testing in front of other people, learning to speak up and announce your Kata loudly, Tournaments, or state the precepts out loud. All of these actions are to help the student become more self-confident. This is an on going and never ending process. Our goal is the process. Like the word Kaizen “constant and never ending improvement, our beginner’s creed “I will learn to do my best”, our school motto “Honor in All things”, and our theme Hitotsu Makato O No Michi O Mamoru Koto “To protect/Defend the paths of Truth”.
Karate is only the vehicle to achieve these ideals.
Sensei, Marlon Moore 7th degree Black Belt