The last lesson I want to share is one of the more powerful ones. If people can't, won't, or don't learn how to deal with the subject of this lesson it can have disastrous and possibly fatal consequences. I'm talking about the role ego plays in the martial life.
Probably the most important issue I face as a teacher is the temptation to let ego control action either on my end or on my mentee's end. Simply put, the power inherent in the mentor/mentee relationship can be addictive if we're not constantly aware of our goals for our mentees as well as ourselves.
When I was in the Navy, and even in the years beyond that I was someone who was led by emotions that were fueled by my poor awareness of how my ego was driving me. I simply couldn't get out of my own way. I thought that I had no consequences for my actions and that the world revolved around me. I
Perhaps the story about how I learned that wasn't the case could be another article, but that's all I'll share for now.
As a pastor and a counselor I've seen the fallout from people who were led by their emotions, who simply couldn't let something slide because someone "disrespected" them, or some combination of those things.
In martial circles we see this when a new student comes in and cannot stand to look foolish or submit himself or herself to teaching. It has devastating consequences when it comes time to spar and they treat a simple two-minute grappling session like a heavyweight championship fight.
Then, the situation may be made better or worse, depending on the egos of the teacher and the other students. If the teacher's ego can't allow for their students to lose anything, then a training opportunity becomes dangerous.
The student will be like his teacher, as it's been said, and students who can't "lose" in training will find themselves at the center of their own world, with no one able to teach them anything. It's how teachers and students develop poor relationship habits and cannot receive new students.
For my part I have no desire to create a cult of personality. I've walked away from training relationships because of this very thing so I know that it's a real problem. The training I offer, in the way I offer it, is not for everyone.
My teaching goals are not legitimized by large numbers and a huge, public following. I want to work with people who want to work with me in a way that is mutually beneficial, with no ego or desire to "never lose."
I won't exclude anyone but I am aware that not everyone is motivated to become skilled in the area of self-protection. My ego doesn't drive me to prove that my way is the right way or create a sycophantic organization that "shows everyone" how good I am.
My teaching goal is to equip people who want to make a commitment in themselves and their education. I am completely committed to my mentees and I want to inspire my mentees to completely commit to themselves.
In my next article I'll speak to what specifically I'm offering here and why I'm offering it. Trust me, it'll be good.
Until next time,