For those of you who recognize the quote that gives this post its title, good job. If you really get the significance of the quote, better job.
For those of us who train, and truly get to the essence of martial arts, we understand the idea of fighting to be a vehicle for self exploration and understanding. There is undoubtedly something revealed to you about yourself in a physical confrontation that cannot be revealed anywhere else. I don’t mean to say that there aren’t other significant modes of self exploration, but a violent situation brings out things in you that you didn’t know were there before.
Most can’t understand true calm without ultimate chaos, just as you can’t understand light fully without total darkness. And until that deeply pervasive and complete calm washes over you, there remain some deep recesses within you that you only can estimate about what impact they may have.
If and when the day comes that you experience a fight, when those unexplored aspects of your primitive self surface, your perspective cannot help but to shift. I think that this is something we come closer to experiencing when training Jiu-Jitsu than much of anything else you can do recreationally. People are always chasing a rush, creating a biochemical drug-like reaction in their bodies and brains through extreme sports or other thrillseeking endeavors. It’s as if those dark recesses of the ancient human condition are longing to come out. Perhaps this is what drives violent behavior in others. So many confusing elements of our nature as humans make sense when viewed in this light.
As with any dark condition; addiction, violent tendencies, compulsive behavior, etc., the need for an outlet, a manner of exercising the demons if you will, becomes of paramount importance. It’s not something we will probably be putting into an advertisement inside parenting magazines or talking about in our kids classes, but there is something within us all that is a complete mystery unless and until the catalyst of violence unearths it. But once exhumed, there is a Jungian transformation like the contact of two chemical substances, a transformation takes place, and we are never the same again. Some try to run from what they see. Some are maddened by it and overtaken, looking to reproduce the effect through redistributed violence.
Jiu-jitsu shows the practitioner the truth: that the discovery made during violence has less to do with violence itself and more to do with humanity and uncertainty. Jiu-Jitsu gives you a wonderful tool for managing of insecurity, uncertainty, anger, and all other faces of fear. It is a venue that allows you to explore and accept, discovering your potential by vanquishing those unexposed areas where doubt reside.
You may know yourself pretty well without ever having known a violent situation at all. But the day you encounter a fight, that all changes and you realize how little you actually knew all along.