One Who Reflects Upon

2:46 PM Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Studio portrait of Amelia Earhart, c. 1932. (o...Image via Wikipedia

Recently a museum in the U.S. state of Ohio was disappointed to find that the lock of Amelia Earhart’s hair they sent to a DNA lab turned out not to be a lock of hair, but instead a piece thread.

The moral of the story is that you should question, and questions a lot – especially when it comes to the martial arts, boxing wrestling, or what have you. Now I am not talking about militant rejections and the assumption that everything you run into might be false, just metered skepticism.

And let me be clear: I mean skepticism in the terms of its original usage rooted in the Greek word “skeptikos” – one who reflects upon something.

Many folks reflect on the micro aspect of their training, what is this movement for? How is it applied? I would submit that you should also be reflecting upon the purpose of your training. I recently asked every student in the beginning adults class one night, “Why are you training here?” What I got back was enlightening. I got immediate answers like; “To get tougher,” “To learn an art”, and “To get exercise and learn something too.” And a few people stuttered as they had not really thought too much about what they were doing and why; they just felt the draw to come to a dojo.

As with the museum, it was assumed that the thread was Amelia Earhart’s hair, and it was only thread. You martial arts is assumed to be something, but is it? Have you really sat down and reflected on the reason why you are doing what you are doing? I did, and after a long internal conversation I began to pare it down, to chip away at the words, reducing the paragraph to a couple of sentences and reducing that even more. Finally I got it down to one word. And that was it: the reason that I train.

So I recommend that you take the time and reflect on your art, relax, take time and be brutal in your editing until you get to the core and know if you are looking at a thread or a hair.

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  1. What can you really add to that or comment upon other than really a great piece. Keep up the great work!


  2. Thanks, much appreciated.

    Kris Wilder

  3. OSU!

    Underground Alliance

  4. Wilder Sensei,

    Thank you for a wonderful post...and a wonderful blog. And thank you for retaining and presenting a voice of sanity in a world gone mad with commercialization, and worse still, organizational politics.

    As for the reason why I train, if I may be permitted some poetic license: I train to look into the mirror of my soul (at least I hope to catch a little glimpse every now and then, for the mirror, alas is much blemished)

    That's the, shall we say, politically-correct version, with the requisite Zen-nish-ness thrown in for good measure.

    However, part of me can't resist wanting to train for more "Epicurean" reasons, such as these, which actually summarizes the reasons I pursue what I pursue:

    Best regards, and with respect,
    Kenneth Tang

    Ps. Forgive the link to that old post on my (rather inactive) blog. It was the only way I could show all four videos conveniently. Please feel free to delete if necessary.

    Kenneth Tang

  5. Kenneth -

    Thank you for the good words, and thanks for getting the vision. I truly appreciate your words. Now worries on the link - it was pretty interesting. Feel free to share The Striking Post link with those you think might enjoy it.

    Be well.


    Kris Wilder

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