We have all experienced it.
The coward runs from it. The hero faces it. The ignorant seeks it.
The wise man avoids it.
I’m talking about danger.
Danger is something we face almost every day. Our workplace can be dangerous. School can be dangerous. Going out to see a movie can be dangerous. Even home can sometimes be really dangerous (a child is roughly 100 times more likely to die in your swimming pool than getting shot by a gun, even though nobody seems nearly as afraid of swimming pools as guns).
However, danger is not something you should be worried about when you go to train in the dojo.
Sure, when things get a little heated, for example in sparring/fighting/self-defense, it may get dangerous, especially if you deal with weapons. But nobody would come to training if they knew it was dangerous. Everyone should feel comfortable with training, right? Safe equals fun!
Martin Luther King once said this about danger:
“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”
That sounds good. But he didn’t know how wrong he was. Because there is one thing that is more dangerous than anything else in the world.
It is the one thing I fear the most when I come to the dojo…
I have nightmares about it.
I feel a chill down my spine, and tremble, when I think about it.
It is my biggest and only fear when training…
I’m talking about BEGINNERS!
They walk around with their fancy white belts. Acting like they don’t know anything…
“How do I tie my belt?” they will say.
“How do I clench my fist? “ they might ask.
“Which leg should be forward? Right or left? they sometimes wonder.
Sometimes it seems they can’t even differentiate between right and left!
And it’s all a clever show. It sems so innocent. And I agree, they are great actors. Sometimes I even believe them, and actually try to help them. “You should tie your belt like this. You should clench your fist like this. You should have left leg forward.” But deep down I know… I know in my heart…
One day, when I look away….
They will get me.
I will get hit.
It might be a kick. Or a punch. Or a finger in the eye. Or most likely an elbow or knee. Perhaps on the nose. Or in the ribs, or the chin.
But please, have mercy on the crotch!
It’s… it’s simply inevitable. It’s destiny. The almighty Karate-god created these… these devils, called them beginners, and sent them to earth for one purpose: To infiltrate Karate-clubs. And when the time is right…
A knee in the groin. Or… an elbow in the back of the head. Or a finger in the nose. Or something else, that seems really innocent and “not on purpose-like”.
“Ooh, I’m sooo sooorryyy” they will say.
They have of course been programmed to say this. It is all a part of The Evil Plan.
And what can you do? You will just have to say “It’s okay, you are just a beginner, you don’t have that much control over your techniques yet”. You cannot get angry (and is it a coincident that the word anger is only one letter short of danger?).
They are laughing now.
The beginners are laughing at you, but they don’t show it. They laugh on the inside. That’s what they have been programmed to do. If they laughed out loud everybody would know it was on purpose. And that isn’t good, because it has to look like an accident. Or else their mission will have failed.
You, on the other hand, are not laughing. At least not on the inside. You may be laughing a little on the outside, just to show other people training around you that you are not hurt. But on the inside you have no pride or dignity left. You are destroyed. Your soul is shattered.
You feel your black belt is dirty.
You feel you are unworthy of it. You want to take it off, spit on it, rip it to pieces, stomp on it, burn it, and never see it again. But you can’t do that, you need to keep up appearances.
Because you have just been hit by the most evil, dangerous, atrocious, monstrous, bad, dark, demoralizing, wicked, sinister, perversive, demonic, diabolical, fiendish, hellish, infernal, satanic, unholy, despicable, ugly, vile, slimy, unworthy, devilish thing ever.
You have been hit by my only fear.
A beginner… who lacks control.