When I first joined martial arts when I was 18, I really joined to learn how to kick-ass…
…I fantasized about getting into fights and proving my might.
…winning the day, defending a girl’s honor, helping the weak, or protecting the innocent.
(I guess it was all the comic books I had read )
And I trained. Hard.
Every day, 4 to 6 hours each day.
And i progressed rapidly through the ranks.
From white belt to yellow in just 3 weeks. From yellow to blue in a few more, then to green in just another 6.
It was at this time (roughly 90 days in) that my self confidence was starting to inflate my ego.
– I was in the best shape I had ever been,
– I was regarded by my instructors as one of the most skilled “lower belts” the system had,
– and in sparring I was contending with hard-nosed black belts with relative ease.
This is where the confession comes in…
…me and A friend (who started the training the same time as I did) decided we wanted to test our new skillz in a real street fight…
(something i used to get into a lot more when I was younger)
…so we decided to go to the local coffee shops where all the preppys, who we despised, hung out.
…We would walk by a young couple’s table and blatantly/obviously stare at the girls to try to rial the guys into a confrontation.
…But the guys would never even look at us.
After a few times of this we realized, the guys might be intimidated by the two of us and only one of them.
So we split up and repeated the process.
Still, nothing. Not 1 fight.
We then decided, lets approach a group of guys because they will surely be more aggressive and want to take us down.
(Even then I had a testers mentality
Repeatedly attempted this and NEVER created a confrontation.
Of course this fed our egos even more.
And ultimately concluded we must be hot shit, and the guys can smell our “badassness”, thus not daring to engage us or risk facing a humiliating defeat.
And so, we strutted off.
So here’s the interesting part.
I continued to work hard in martial arts, I trained daily for 6 hours a day and I soon advanced to brown belt.
(A 12 month minimum belt level to start testing into black belt.)
And as I started to learn these new advanced techniques, I had a realization.
Something that scared me out of my mind as I progressed.
Here’s how it happened…
I sparred a new guy that had been progressing through the ranks (a preppy by chance).
Much bigger then me and very strong.
He wanted to test his knowledge with me and he asked if we could go near full speed during our round.
I gingerly agreed.
I knocked the air out of him, swept him to the ground and pinned him with relative ease.
But when I looked in his eyes…
…I saw it for the first time.
He wasn’t fighting me. He was fighting something inside himself.
And he had lost.
This is when I realized that my inner weakness, my anger, my resentment, my fear that had built up from…
…being picked on, laughed at, even abused as a kid…
…all MY insecurities.
…if I let that seek revenge through the new set of skills I had acquired (taken).
I could really hurt someone.
I mean hospitalize or even kill someone with what I knew.
I freaked out.
Every ridiculous fight I tried to get into rushed back to me…
…and I couldn’t help but feel like I almost hit someone with my vehicle through negligence.
I was relieved I hadn’t hurt anyone, but I was embarrassed/ ashamed of what I had tried to do.
Here’s the bottom line:
As a young man I sought power.
Power to right the “wrongs” of my life.
To develop a strength that would ensure I was never a victim again.
And what I found was a strength to do those things through martial arts.
Not because I could “crush my enemies”…
truthfully, I was never as good a fighter i could be, until I stopped seeking to conquer the external world of injustices…
…but sought first to conquer weaknesses in my “self”.
In the end…
…we can not truly become a master in our world, till we master our inner self.
I hope it helps.
Action from today’s lesson:
What are you still battling from your past?
Is it still relevant?
Is it still valid?
Is it an external fantasy or an internal reality?
Greg Gomez III
P.S. Leave me your Comments Below and Let Me Know Your Thoughts…