Karate-do can be very beautiful. There’s a visual grace and fluidity… a power and drama that belies it’s intended purpose. One can easily be mesmerized by its aesthetically tranquil, peaceful flow. For those of us unfortunate enough to need to defend ourselves though, karate is anything but beautiful. It is ugly, devoid of grace, and the only peace one gets, is the peace that one was genuinely lucky to survive the outcome.
There’s a time for beauty, and love, and peace. But there’s also a time to contain, neutralize, and fight for yourself and loved ones. As men, it is in our genetic make up to protect; however, one’s fundamental character trait shouldn’t change when switching from peace to war. One’s intent certainly does, but know that if a person abuses or exceeds the limits in containing the threat, that person was flawed to begin with. A person’s response should always be concomitant to the war, or peace presented before him.
The phenomena of switching from peaceful to warrior and back again, takes place all the time. We all do it. I’ll give you two real examples of varying degrees, in areas that you may not be expecting…
You have a kid who is struggling with let’s say geometry, and it’s affecting his wellbeing and confidence. You go into lock down mode and find a tutor, or talk to the teacher, or try to help him yourself, or let him drop out of the class after a period of time….whatever it is, you see a threat and you contain it. We’ve all had these micro “threats” that forced us to switch gears and intensity temporarily, to solve a “problem”.
You have cancer that requires surgery. Simultaneously, your seventeen year old son is going through a severe existential threat after losing his best friend to suicide… and a pedophilic, married person tries to take advantage of the situation by using her own kids to get close to yours, to attempt to groom him.
This is no time to be peaceful. You’ll go into a hyper alert war mode, and stop or neutralize that threat to protect your son and family! That’s just what you do, no questions asked. You drop everything, give up body, and fight like hell. Peaceful, is the last thing on your mind! Peaceful is what the opposing side wants and hopes for, so they can continue their depravity! You give them the exact opposite.
But once the threats of cancer, your son’s life threatening vulnerabilities, and the deranged predatory actions of an unsuspecting middle-aged woman are dealt with… go back to a peaceful yet vigilant existence. There’s no need to do anything else. Your job is to be the protective shell, to the pearl that is your loved ones. That’s it. Return to being that beautiful clam shell that’s hard and protective on the outside, but smooth and comforting to its pearl on the inside. Remember, one’s response is always positively correlative, and proportional to the threat. There’s no need for retribution, but there is a need to forgive, be aware, and to restore peace and equilibrium.
So, do beautiful karate in the dojo. Feel the peace, and bask in it’s beauty that you create…but be ready and willing to make it ugly, when you need to. Sometimes war. Sometimes peace. There’s a time and place for everything, so long as you return to peace.