Monday, September 29, 2008

Think Big

There's this guy from my area that runs a karate school out of his house. A basement dojo, I'm told, can be a rough place to train. At any rate, this particular fellow checks in at 6'8 and weighs 315 pounds. A friend of mine knows him from the old days. "Years ago he came to train with us because he heard good things about Isshinryu, plus he was killing everyone in sparring at his other school."

"Of course you gave him a warm welcome upon his arrival", I said with thinly veiled sarcasm. "Sure", said my friend. "We took him apart his first day there!"

In almost any physical activity, size and strength go a long way. In the martial arts, size and strength are almost met with contempt. That is, martial-art techniques were developed to down any opponent, regardless of size. If you look at most of the founders of Asian martial arts, you'll see that they were small men, typically just over five feet tall. This kind of shortcoming (pun intended) can seem like a liability for anyone who wants to learn the art of self-defense. But a liability - or as we perceive it as such - can be sublimated into a catalyst to accomplish big things. Napoleon complex is a term used to describe people who are physically short and in turn overcompensate for their so-called handicap.

The conventional belief is that the smaller man (less than 5'5) has a chip on his shoulder, but British researchers have revealed something else. In experiments that were conducted, it was found that it's the average-sized guy who is more likely to lose his temper.

"Make yourself larger than your opponent" advises Musashi. Not merely a mental ploy, what this really means is make your spirit larger. Somehow, this manifests into the physical. Good posture is generally equated with an air of confidence and a sense of well being. We've all seen the opposite: those who lack self esteem carry themselves poorly. They look down at the ground, slumped over, almost in an attempt to hide. We are what we think. And as long as we're thinking, says Donald Trump, think big and kick ass!

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Blogger Charles James said...

Excellent Posting

11:21 AM  
Blogger Blackbeltmama said...

This reminds me of a story that is told about Kyoshi Heilman. She's an 8th degree black belt and was walking on a dark college campus by herself. There were several guys following her and she had the feeling they were going to be trouble. So, she stood up tall (she happens to be rather tiny), faced them, and in her deepest voice asked them what they wanted. They walked away sheepishly.

Kyoshi may be small but she has a kiai alone that could drop a man. You're so right about it not being about size.

9:47 AM  
Blogger Mathieu said...

Nice post.
Are we what we think or do we think what we are? (I won't go there)

The previous post video : OUCH! Plus, the commentary was almost out of this world! "See how the ribs are broken? - very good technique"


hey, a basement dojo is a very fine place to train in! :)

Be well. I'm glad you enjoyed your summer. Time goes by far too fast and it's only speeding up.

10:22 AM  
Blogger John Vesia said...

Thanks Charles!


I was watching Gene Simmons being interviewed last night and when asked for his secret to success he said "You gotta think like a giant!" Apparently this can also work when being followed in a dark place. Thanks for sharing that story.


hey, a basement dojo is a very fine place to train in! :)

Finally some praise for the misunderstood basement dojo!

The previous post video : OUCH! Plus, the commentary was almost out of this world! "See how the ribs are broken? - very good technique"

Yeah, some fine hammerfist work by Royce - but wait - isn't that a karate technique as well? How about that.

11:00 AM  
Blogger Miss Chris said...

Wow. I just realized your back! I missed your posts and am glad you're writing again.

2:47 PM  
Blogger John Vesia said...

: )

Thank you, Miss Chris!

4:22 PM  
Blogger Colin Wee said...

I have typically been the smaller man - the token Asian in the American/Australian dojo, for several years (5'7" or 170cm). There are some disadvantages being shorter, but it is up to the fighter to hone in on his strengths and pit them against the opponent's weaknesses.

With the few rules we have, there are many low to mid height shots that beat the height disadvantage anytime!

No point in going into a conflict with a small mind!

A related post at mokuren dojo -- 'Chaka Zulu Will Kill You'.

Good to see you're back.


7:10 AM  
Blogger John Vesia said...

Thanks Colin.

Supposedly 5'7 is average height worldwide. But every generation gets taller or so it seems. My oldest boy (15) is already passing me - either that or I'm shrinking. Thanks for that link.

10:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that is so true and not just in martial arts its can be implemented in almost any aspect in our life.

3:47 AM  

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