When you begin to feel like you are a tough guy, a warrior, a master of the martial arts or that you have lived a tough life, just take a moment and get some perspective with the following:
I've stopped knives that were coming to disembowel me
I've clawed for my gun while bullets ripped past me
I've dodged as someone tried to put an ax in my skull
I've fought screaming steel and left rubber on the road to avoid death
I've clawed broken glass out of my body after their opening attack failed
I've spit blood and body parts and broke strangle holds before gouging eyes
I've charged into fires, fought through blizzards and run from tornados
I've survived being hunted by gangs, killers and contract killers
The streets were my home, I hunted in the night and was hunted in turn
Please don't brag to me that you're a survivor because someone hit you. And don't tell me how 'tough' you are because of your training. As much as I've been through I know people who have survived much, much worse. - Marc MacYoung
WARNING, CAVEAT AND NOTE
The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books. Please make note that this article/post is my personal analysis of the subject and the information used was chosen or picked by me. It is not an analysis piece because it lacks complete and comprehensive research, it was not adequately and completely investigated and it is not balanced, i.e., it is my personal view without the views of others including subject experts, etc. Look at this as “Infotainment rather then expert research.” This is an opinion/editorial article/post meant to persuade the reader to think, decide and accept or reject my premise. It is an attempt to cause change or reinforce attitudes, beliefs and values as they apply to martial arts and/or self-defense. It is merely a commentary on the subject in the particular article presented.
Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.
“What you are reading right now is a blog. It’s written and posted by me, because I want to. I get no financial remuneration for writing it. I don’t have to meet anyone’s criteria in order to post it. Not only I don’t have an employer or publisher, but I’m not even constrained by having to please an audience. If people won’t like it, they won’t read it, but I won’t lose anything by it. Provided I don’t break any laws (libel, incitement to violence, etc.), I can post whatever I want. This means that I can write openly and honestly, however controversial my opinions may be. It also means that I could write total bullshit; there is no quality control. I could be biased. I could be insane. I could be trolling. … not all sources are equivalent, and all sources have their pros and cons. These needs to be taken into account when evaluating information, and all information should be evaluated.” - God’s Bastard, Sourcing Sources (this applies to this and other blogs by me as well; if you follow the idea's, advice or information you are on your own, don't come crying to me, it is all on you do do the work to make sure it works for you!)
“You should prepare yourself to dedicate at least five or six years to your training and practice to understand the philosophy and physiokinetics of martial arts and karate so that you can understand the true spirit of everything and dedicate your mind, body and spirit to the discipline of the art.” - cejames (note: you are on your own, make sure you get expert hands-on guidance in all things martial and self-defense)
“All I say is by way of discourse, and nothing by way of advice. I should not speak so boldly if it were my due to be believed.” - Montaigne
Phony Power vs. Real Power
I quote, "Phony power is always tied to something else you have - a weapon or title or the trappings of wealth or the protectie infulence of some other person. It can be easily taken away at any time when someone arrives with a bigger weapon, a more important title, more money, or a mentor with more clout than yours." "When phone power is all you rely on, you never know how long your turn at the top is going to be."
All this and more tend to make a phony power person nervous, tense, always sizing up the upcoming threat, and always checking their power and strength against others. Fear they will lose their perceived power - phony power.
In MA systems you see it when folks get a belt color, in those who have been there longer with greater ability, and with some instructors. You can see this sometimes in the manner of the instructor and how the atmosphere is when in session practicing and in particular during sparring. Sometimes you can tell it is phony but unconscious when a guest partakes in a class where they tend to resist their participation in certain ways.
When someone enters a room most can perceive real power in a person by instinct yet will wonder what it is about that person or what is it that makes that person appear so powerful. I am not saying physical appearance as to strength and bravado but one who appears nondescript and average yet exudes a sense of power. That person most often will be quiet and un-assuming, etc. I can tell you I tend to look around and study participants in a dojo because I know that my instincts and intuition will tell me who has real power and who has phony power.
Example: One time at a dinner party a man walked in to the room and I knew he did because I got this really uncomfortable feeling so I looked behind me where the entry door was located and saw him. In this particular case I felt in the presence of something very powerful and in this one instance a very dangerously powerful person. I later understood that he was a hatchet man who actually had many of the traits of a psychopath/sociopath. I kept my eyes and ears open for the remainder of the dinner. It does happen and you can know if you are aware.
I am not sure I am articulating this well in written form so if it seems foggy let me know in a comment to I may expand.
Last, how can you tell what kind of power, at any level, you have? Ask the question, "Can it be taken away?" Real power is not subject to anyone or anything and phony power can be taken by someone who appears with more rank, more systems of MA, more clout, more connections in the organization, someone who cannot be spoiled by the unscrupulous or careless behavior of others.
In MA if you feel that someone can take away your power as a black belt simply by saying and/or requiring you put on a white belt and start all over again then you have phony power. Once you achieve a level of proficiency you have it forever regardless of the color belt, the trophies, the accolades, the patches, or any other external validated source. Power, real power, is that power within each of us that is unaffected by any other outside source, it cannot be removed once attained under any circumstances. It cannot be taken away. If it can, it ain't real - it is phony.
Sensei - a powerful title yet it can be taken away.
O'Sensei - also powerful, yet it too can be taken away.
Winner - powerful and can provide self-confidence yet it can be easily taken away causing a loss of esteem and confidence.
Grandmaster - denotes one of great ability and power yet it can be removed resulting in a loss of power and ability.
These and many other things I can barely think of tend to be titles or outward power symbols, etc. yet if a group, association, or such decides to ignore them or pass the word that it is phony and the holder is a phony then the power is gone.
When you practice, when you test, when you compete, when you work with Kohai, do you act with power? Or, do you just have it and kohai, competitors, test panels, etc. just act toward you with a respect for your real power from within? Some things to consider as you progress through the path of the martial arts. This also helps us to understand that to practice with out a balancing opposite it will end up phony, not real.