T H O U G H T   F O R   T H E   W E E K

"Leave Your Ego At The Door"

By David Baker,
Shihan of the Midtown Karate Dojo

Now, to the Thought for the Week, it is "Leave your ego at the door" (Variation "Leave your ego in your shoes, at the door.") There's a tendency for people, as they become more skilled in their area of expertise, to begin to believe that they are accomplished, that they have reached the summit. (They believe their own "press clippings".) This tendency is all the more odious for deshi of martial arts because of the inherent dangers and risks of budo.

That danger demands that we be far more vigilant against arrogance than someone in a non-martial art. That is one of the reasons that our art follows such strict courtesies. To do otherwise, invites needless injuries on the deck.

In the words of a former NY Yankee, welcoming a new ballplayer to this city, while explaining to him the role of the sportswriters, "You're never as good as they say you are, and you're never as bad as they say you are."  There's also the legend of the karate master and the young man who ostensibly desires to train under the master (if you happen to remember the story). However, the man is so filled with arrogance as he goes on and on about his experience in karate, that the master, in pouring tea during their introductory meeting, causes the young man's cup to overflow so that the hot tea cascades down the young man's legs. The analogy is that the young man's mind (read "cup") is already filled and has no room for the master's teachings, hence the overflowing cup.

Enjoy the week, arigato,

David Baker

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