Motivation logo

Exchange of Ideas

Looking beyond what you know.

By The M.A.D. DadPublished 4 months ago 3 min read

Much like the photo above, many people are very comfortable when tucked away into a certain environment. A pattern or routine becomes commonplace and change can be difficult. Marital arts is no different. People follow a certain style with ingrained principles and philosophies and look into focusing on those tenets and beliefs. Too often, martial artists let this focus lead to blindness.

The initial desire to understand a group of beliefs or a martial arts style can easily and insidiously lead to egocentrism. The style must be the only valid perspective. Anything that agrees with the style studied must also be valid, and any opposing belief must be false. A dangerous philosophy trap ensues and layer upon layer of dogmatic insulation traps an impressionable student in a "stylistic" prison.

I had the pleasure recently of being able to work with another martial arts instructor with a completely different martial arts heritage and background. Our styles had some opposing and synchronous perspectives. We talked with curious intention about what we did not know and how the other's style viewed topics ranging from self-defense to history. Refreshingly, we had a benevolent exchange which has led to more and more positive interactions.

We each then talked about how different this series of discussions had been from other times that we had interacted with martial artists who became very defensive or even belligerent regarding valuing the differences of the their styles in comparison to others.

I asked my newfound confidant in training, "Why do you think martial artists become so upset when looking outside of a style that they have training devoted to improving?"

He said, "I think it is just easier to believe that you are do not need to question." He further explained that questions lead to doubt and most people cannot deal with the doubts that could follow this line of thought. He and I respectfully have been training for 20-30 years in our arts. He said that an underlying fear that your style may not be effective or that you have been wrong in your outlook or training is too frightening for many people.

I can agree. No one wants to be wrong. No one wants to feel lack. But, in questioning, I believe that we expose ourselves to more knowledge and growth opportunities. Maybe, doubt can viewed negatively, but can doubt not also bring on the belief that there is more to learn? Knowledge and the world are always expanding, and so our doubts of what exists can manifest into a expectation that more is available for skill or action. But, to growth, a spot of vulnerable questioning or doubt must surface.

So, doubt and questions follow curiosity, I suppose. Yet, I do wonder about one other reason that doubt may be discouraged. Perhaps, it could be argued that certainty may lead to complacency. A feeling of expertise that is not challenged could lead any individual to think that all knowledge is certain and beyond doubt. This type of individual may argue that he or she knows everything regarding a topic and then disallow discussion on any opposing front. Or, more concerning, individuals who choose this path may seek to exert an influence over others to maintain control and power.

Doubt which leads to questions can fuel curiosity which can lead to exploration which can find answers which provide more utility and power. To those who love power, useful knowledge is dangerous and by proxy the association of doubt that fuel the process of knowledge acquisition can be the spark of a depletion of a information despot's power.

Interesting thoughts or doubts to ponder! I hope that you each improve in your knowledge!

The M.A.D. Dad


About the Creator

The M.A.D. Dad

I call myself the M.A.D. Dad. M.A.D. stands for Martial Arts Direction. I want to help others battle the forces that threaten our peace with lessons that I have been blessed to discover through my experiences in both Martial Arts and Life.

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.