The Lost Art of Self-Control

imagesSelf-control is a beautiful tool, sadly I strongly believe that it is a lost concept or art. In the words of Robert Burns: Prudent, cautious self-control, is wisdom’s root. Think about this reality, in nearly all children martial arts programs, things like self-control, discipline. Honor, integrity and more are instilled in these programs. Now, by in large, this have become buzz words that parents look for to be instilled in the children. Largely because they have trouble instilling them in their children themselves, so martial arts might be a worthy avenue to try. I’m not knocking these programs, in fact, I love teaching kids and to be honest, kids programs are what keep most schools afloat.
Interestingly enough, we instill these values in our children and when people reach adulthood these values tend to fall away. I believe that’s because, we largely assume that as adults and martial artist we know how to control ourselves. Not so much! I have seen so many martial artists show no respect for their training environments, throw their equipment around, show up late for class, don’t pay attention and have an ego bigger than someone on my 600 hundred pound life. I have seen countless instructors, that don’t instill the bushido code in their students, and let them act however they want. Martial artist used to be disciplined and peaceful warriors, what has happened to us? I’ve seen many-videos of so called martial artists getting in fights, rather than exercising self-control and avoiding/walking away. I’ve seen countless FMA instructors teaching how to commit man slaughter, with an edged weapon. Rather than teaching how to control oneself and do what is needed and necessary, to use that edged weapon to create space and get away!
Furthermore, I also have seen instructors teach repeating stomps to the head, even after the situation has been neutralized. As martial artists, we should have the ability to control ourselves even when our lives depend on it. Now to be fair, there is a time and place to invoke violence. However, not every situation calls for that, in most self-defense encounters (if not all) one has to be able to legally justify the level of force used and why. Lyoto Machida, one of my favorite MMA fighters, has never let go of his Karate roots, that includes self-control, and even in his fights he does not go overboard when finishing a fight. In fact, he steps back and respectfully bows to his opponent. He is a prime example of self- controlled warrior that I’m speaking of. Lastly, outside martial arts and self-defense, self- control should be a daily current in your life. If it’s not, then you need to put into practice. Your life will improve immensely if you do. Not everything in life is worth freaking out about.
Learn to take a few moments each day to breath and be still, learn that the person you control is you. You can’t control as much as your led to believe. You only can control you. You can’t control the weather or how someone else reacts. Learn to separate yourself from a situation, let go of the past, set boundaries in your life and for others. Be self-controlled in your daily habits, make yourself a stronger warrior not just on the outside but the inside as well. I know what I’m saying may seem very basic and elementary, but I strongly believe that it is needed now, more than ever.

 

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