Is your EGO getting in the way of your martial arts learning?
Different blog this month on, well the title says it clearly but what do we mean by it?
During my 49 years in the fighting arts I have met, trained with and instructed many martial artists, travelled to over 25 countries giving seminars and lessons.
During these events I meet so many different martial artists but in reality the same type of person crops up each time.
You get the people who come to a seminar and they don’t want to learn and in fact they have come to teach you how much they know and some times hold mini seminars in your seminar. Some people try to judge you on what you are teaching without the slightest comprehension of the subject matter. Some people want to be validated on how good they think they are and when you say they need more work on something they get defensive and upset. You would think by now that if one really studies martial arts they would know that you always come to fail at your lessons because if you could do it all right you would not need to practice any more. Then we get the martial artists who come to a seminar just to test or challenge you again just to verify how good they think they are and or to make a name for themselves instead of wanting to learn and having that beginners mind.
There have been many high grade instructors who have come to me for lessons and when you say their posture is off or they are off line they get upset and want to end the lesson and lick their wounds. Some countries I have given seminars in every year and the people still don’t want to come out of the style system scenario even after you say they don’t have to change the system but just put the principles in what they are doing. I have thought that it was my bad teaching that they could not learn the principles but people ensured me its just that they don’t want to change as it is too uncomfortable for them and they would have to acknowledge that they don’t really understand what they are doing. There is a saying ‘‘You can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.’’
In one seminar someone said to me. ‘‘My instructor said we have the best style.’’
I said ‘‘In just eight words you have told me so much about you.’’
Now I am not say that I have it perfect in any way, shape or form as you know it is always a work in progress and I still have so much more to learn and that is why I train everyday having said that I have never let my ego get in the way of my personal development, those who know me won’t be surprised to learn of me turning up at a beginners class for sword work or letting a 10 year old kid show me how to do sticks when I first started many years ago. My thirst and drive for knowledge outweighs my embarrassment that I cannot do something. My good friend and training partner for many years Master Pip Mahony always says ‘‘Don’t shine now shine later.’’
After saying the above there are a few instructors who I have nothing but admiration for as after doing a certain style or system and may I say at very high grades, they wanted to learn something completely new and to add to their knowledge and skill set. I will not name them here as I do not want to embarrass them but they know who they are. You always have my respect and loyalty.
Some of you may be thinking that I have an ego to write the above and you would be correct. An ego is normal and necessary to drive you to do anything in life even writing this blog but the difference is I know and I still allow new ideas and concepts to come into my mind and not be bogged down by what I think or should know.
Is your ego stopping you learning?