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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Is it knowledge, or just your opinion?

Part 1 of a series on internal aspects of martial arts and self improvement....

Have you ever noticed, that the most opinionated people tend to rant, complain and find fault the fastest? While those who are truly knowledgeable make their points known, but not point fingers and look down their noses at others?

I call the behavior of complainers and know-it-alls, the "attempt to control Universal knowledge".

I get youngsters visiting my studio a lot, many times with previous Karate or Tae Kwon Do experience....usually around 3 to 6 months. When they take their intro lessons at my school, sometimes I'll be interrupted with "Karate does it like THIS..." Or "That's easy, I already know dragon stance...." (when in fact they have never done it before).

So why do young kids blurt things out like that? Adults in the martial arts know that if they interrupted the teacher, they'd get a bunch of pushups. But even if the kids knew this, it doesn't stop them. Why not?

Because there's that point in childhood where everything is about them and what they know...for many youngsters, their world is the world everybody else experiences. This mode of perception could be at 2 years old, could extend all through teenage years. I know some adults that still think their perceived world is the only true world. :)  kidding aside, if kids are exposed to only one thing, one activity, one facet, without seeing the variations, they believe that is exactly what everyone knows....a "universal knowledge". They're not trying to be rude, they just assume everything is Karate.

I had one new 4 year old tell me I needed to get karate belts. "we wear sashes to show our belt rank" I said.   "yeah, but...but. but you should get belts so everyone knows what belt you are." Heh heh!  The child didn't hear what I said....instead made sure I knew the right way to do things. :)

Ever notice too, that the word "you" is used a lot by those who feel the need to prove their point? More "you" refererences than "I" references....usually in pointing out others supposed faults..."You need to do this", "you need to do that."....many times this phrase is used by "academic masters" not true, "knowledge earned though toil-sweat-and-struggle" masters. Hint, teachers....try saying 'that skill needs....(insert points), and here are tips for you in practice"....this allows students to feel a GAIN, not a sense of incompetence when you say something like "you NEED to relax!" They know they 'need' to, but since they know they're not there yet (otherwise you wouldn't be saying "you need to...") , it can make them feel that they're missing something. Just goes to show that just because you know, doesn't mean you can do. Just because you can do, doesn't mean you can teach.

Problem is, sometimes people don't grow out of that mode of thinking. People assume everyone should think like they do, and they look down upon anyone that doesn't think as they do. They make general assumptions, even going so far as to label others with their opinionated "truths".  Personally, I'm getting tired of seeing constant flame wars about which martial arts is best, religion vs. Athiesm, people thinking they're smarter than others, labeling others as stupid or delusional, Tai Chi style arguments, the best way to make a pie, etc etc......In the end no one gives a hoot about how smart you *think* you are or how good you *think* you are....a Get a grip on Ego and the need to be right, people.

. Someone once tried to tell me who I was as a person, what I thought, and what my beliefs were......WRONG WRONG and WRONG. (yup and the words "you you and you" were used a lot)..... It was all based on opinion, not true knowledge about me as a person or an attempt to try and understand my core beliefs. I didn't believe exactly as they did, and therefore I'm black sheep....something they themselves despised being tagged as. Go figure. It is said that knowledge is power.....but be careful that your don't rely on it as your sole support. That would be like relying solely on your pocketknife for self defense, and not going to Martial arts class because hey, you have a knife right? Don't need anymore of that antiquated martial arts stuff. Get that knife taken away from you or get frozen by adrenaline dump....NOW WHAT? You should realize that the knife is a tool in your toolbox of self defense or combat one tool will match every job. So the next time you think about being a blowhard, ask "Is this true knowledge or just my opinion based on my biases?"

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