Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Right, Wrong, and Respect in Martial Arts

"Sonkei" Respect
This was cut and pasted from the link below.  I didn't make this up.

"So where I train BJJ some aikido guys roll on the mats when we arent there. I left my gi there so i went to pick it up while Aikido was having a class, because the doors would be open then. You hafto cross over the mat to get to the locker room. I quietly entered the building, took my shoes off and proceeded to cross along the very edge of the mat against the wall where nobody was. About 3 steps in I was yelled at by one of the students, "BOW WHEN YOU GET ON THE MAT!". I did not want to be disrespectful but I also wasnt gonna bow to a picture of some guy on the wall so i simply turned and said "No dude" and kept walking. On my way back I was confronted by the instructor, a 7th dan black belt. He questioned me briefly, asked why i was there and why i didnt bow etc. It seemed like he wanted to fight me. I could tell he wanted me to back down so he could look tough with all his students watching but he seemed like a bitch so i just kept moving closer and staring back as he tried to stare me down. After a couple seconds of that he went back to his class and i left.

My question is, had it come down to a fight, could I guy with 2 years bjj experience and a strength advantage beat a 7th dan black belt in aikido?"

Brazilian Jiu Jutsu
Wow, where to start?
First off, this is one side of the story, so I'll take everything with a grain of salt.
    I think people that behave like this, is what can gives MMA people a bad reputation in the minds of traditional martial artists.  That being said, I know many MMA guys, BJJ practitioners, and other such martial artists who do not present this lack of respect for other arts.This guy shows no respect any other arts, or other martial ideas other than his.  "some aikido guys roll on the mat when we arent there."  This shows that the writer is ignorant of what aikido is doing, or what it is all about, and has no desire to learn what it is.  I don't like watching baseball or basketball, but I respect the skills and effort that goes into mastering it.

I'm guessing this was the "some guy" on the wall
    The author does try to intercede as quietly and unobtrusively as possible when the other class is on the mat.  He takes off his shoes and stays out of the way.  So maybe there is some general respect for the mat.  Then some aikidoka yells at him (at least I'm guessing that's why it is in caps). 
    This is where communication breaks down, and ego starts to get in the way.  The aikidoka wanted to enforce their ideas onto a newcomer.  I understand that for some schools, discipline and tradition are important, but explaining the importance usually works better than just yelling them at people.  Especially Americans (I'm guessing he's American by the bad grammar).  This is an old idea.  When General Washington brought over Hessian officers to train the fledgling American army, they were aghast that Americans wanted to know why they doing everything, not just accepting the drills.  The author then further works from a point of ego by flippantly disregarding the aikidoka's rather loud request.  He shows his ignorance and lack of respect by referring to the picture of O-Sensei as "some guy on the wall." Although he's not wrong in not wanting to bow to someone he doesn't know, this goes back to the general lack of respect.  If you were in a different part of the world, and they asked you to take your hat off in a church out of respect, I think most people would do it out of basic respect.

    When the author came back, he was confronted by the class's Sensei.  Who, according to the author wanted to fight him.  But the aikido sensei kept backing up/down.  It could be the author was right, and the Sensei had an egotistical need to appear tough before his students, or it could be that he was asking why he was being disrespectful.  Either way, they both ended the conflict correctly.  You'd be surprised how just walking can disrupt a conflict.  Also, backing down when the conflict is unneccesary is also a good strategy.

    Then the final kicker, the ultimate question "Who would win a fight?"  I have never seen a fight that wasn't about ego.  A fight doesn't have self-defense aspects to it.  A fight is about defending face, trying to prove something to someone.  This is not where martial arts lives.  MMA is the ultimate expression of a fight.  It seems to me, at the levels of competition I've seen, to be mostly about ego, money, and fame.  All three things associated with martial arts right?  There are some people I've talked to who practice other martial arts, and use the fight as a pure testing ground, but they seem to be the exception. 
To be honest, I think the BJJ guy, with his superior physical conditioning would have won a fight for that reason alone.  But so would an NFL linebacker whose never taken a martial arts class in his life.  The physical aspect has a lot to do with it.  But that's a subject for its own column.

    The end result is both parties, the BJJ guy and the aikidoka did things that were both right and wrong behaviors.  In the end there was too much ego involved, and a lack of respect by both sides.  Smaller egos and increased respect are supposed to be part of the goals of martial arts, so unless they both used this as a growing experience, they both failed as martial artists.

No comments:

Post a Comment