Will to Power

by Jinryu

Ever since I got back from Hong Kong and I’ve only had summer school left to do, I’ve been going to a lot more judo and hanging out with people there. One of the people that I’ve come to get to know a lot better is [Cobain].

When I started off in judo, he was a blue belt. Ever since then he has recently, in the last couple of months, been promoted to a brown belt. When I first started judo I really didn’t like this guy. He had a very abrasive personality.

Looking back at it though, it was never mean to me or anything. Actually having this blog came in handy in that sense: I look back on my old entries just see what my first impressions were of him. It turns out that a lot of the reason why didn’t like him was because he used to pick on [Will] a lot, who like me, was just starting judo at the time . Cobain used to drag will around the room by his sleeves or sometimes literally walk all over him.  now, I’ve gotten to understand that it wasn’t so much Cobain as it was will who was the problem.

You may recall that a couple of weeks ago I was complaining about training with will. The main reason was that will just basically displayed no willpower or motivation to be in judo whatsoever. It’s the kind of attitude that really gets to me, because I don’t feel that you should be in a place working with people who are passionate about something if you yourself are not willing to put in the minimum amount of effort to improve yourself. I don’t care if you’re good or not, it’s a question of whether or not you are willing to work to become better.

In retrospect, I think all the bullying that Cobain was doing to Will at the beginning was trying to spark some sort of reaction out of him. Sort of like a tough love education. Unfortunately, its been about a year now and will is still the same way that he is.

There’s nothing I can do about that unfortunately.  I can say that I probably trade with will more than anybody else in this club, & I tried both approaches from the good cop and the bad cop angle. Keep in mind also that I used to teach children and that motivating people use to be part of my job description. I also used to do quite a bit of coaching in all sorts of things, so this is nothing new to me. I wouldn’t say that will is a hopeless case, but I suspect that he may have some underlying mental issues that need some sort of professional help. Maybe he was bullied as a child or something, or has extremely low self esteem issues, or there’s some sort of traumatic event is past that makes them unable to generate aggression what’s have any confidence in himself. But it’s something beyond my ability. At my most cynical, I simply don’t know why he does judo. He’s not suited for combat sports of any sort. He got in trouble a week ago because when sensei asked him if he was going to join the recent competition, he agreed. But on the day of the competition? He didn’t show up.

Although I’m sure you get the idea that I don’t really take s*** from anyone, I’m not completely insensitive. If someone needs help, I will help them. But on the other hand, I’m not Jesus. My patience is an infinite, and I’m not capable of turning my cheeks back and forth. There’s a limit.

Despite the fact that I do try avoiding will while in class because I don’t like working with him, it does happen about once a week none the less. there are unfortunately  just not that many people in my weight class, and with him being only about 10 kilos heavier than me, he’s the closest thing I can find.

Any case, this post is more about Cobain and then it is about will. You got a strange personality, but at the same time, its not in a bad way. There’s a lot I can learn from him, and I don’t just mean judo technique. He’s just a bit awkward in and rough around the edges. But at the end of the day, he cares very much about his classmates in judo. We are his comrades, and he wants us genuinely to get better. In fact, of all of the judo people, including people of higher rank than him, he is still one of the most helpful and insightful people in the club simply because he’s willing to share his knowledge with others.

I hate to say this, but there are times when I get frustrated with my own shorcomings and take it out on my peers.  I might know a technique relatively well compared to someone that I’m working with, and I don’t feel like helping them. Its something petty of me and spiteful, because I want to get ahead of them. Its a bad habit of mine I think, rooted in jealousy . I’ve actually gotten much better at this, in the sense that I’m more helpful now than I have ever been whenever there’s a situation where I can be helpful. But I still have a long way to go in working the impurities out of my character.  It reminds me that people who are at the higher belts classes aren’t just there because of technical proficiency, but because of a spirit of camraderie and the responsibility they take for their peers. I don’t know how I forgot this from the time I spent in korean martial arts, and I’m a bit ashamed of it to be honest. Maybe it’s because I’ve gotten so used to being a low-rank belt in judo. It makes me think that I can just soak up the teaching without taking responsibility for anything. Perhaps this is what is partially what is holding me back.

I remember when I was in Tae Kwon do, I felt the same sort of situation as I was climbing the belt ranks. It was only when I got to first dan that I started seriously considering what it meant to take care of those around me and to work for the improvement of the club and not just myself.  I suppose old habits die hard. I have always been someone who played solo or single person sports and activities. And everyone else is always been competition. perhaps all of my woes when it comes to figuring out where I fit into the world of martial arts, given that I’m getting older now, have a lot to do with how I can build my sense of community around me. Not one just where I can only find satisfaction in my own improvement, but perhaps one where I can learn to genuinely appreciate the people around me getting better as well. Perhaps it says something about my lack of sick sense of security, in that I’m afraid when people who are potentially competition to me get stronger. It shouldn’t be that way.