“The way to defeat a raging, charging opponent is with great composure.”
Musashi Thomas was a stoic individual who epitomized the Chinese martial adage that “a warrior is known not by how much he can give but how much he can take.”
In sparring classes, he could stand toe to toe with the hardest hitters and not be unbalanced emotionally; a great skill that often takes many martial artists quite a while to cultivate. In the Shaolin Arts, there is also the concept that one should build one’s energy field to the point that most blows cannot disrupt one’s center or stir one’s fear which tends to escalate situations rather than defusing them. Thus it came as no surprise to me when Thomas came in one Thursday evening with a story that captured all the above ideas.
He had stopped by a local bar after he had gotten off work. Thomas was a salesman so he tended to explore new places and he used it for networking opportunities. Sitting at the bar, talking with the bartender, an attractive young woman sat down next to him and joined in the conversation. Now, Thomas is a charming guy and before much time had passed, this young woman was leaning in, touching him gently, laughing and talking about anything and everything. WHAM!
Thomas shrugged off the blow that had struck him in the backside of his head and turned to face where the blow had come. “Don’t be whispering in my wife’s ear!” Came the tart words from the medium built guy standing inn front of him. “Thomas looked into his eyes, laughed and said, “If you can’t hit any harder then that, you better not go around hitting people and for your information, she was flirting with me!” The young man’s eyes got big and he turned and left.
Thomas turned to the woman, laughed and said, “Thanks a lot!” He then proceeded, before she could even respond (she was still in a state of shock), got up and left. “I didn’t want to stick around and see if he was going to come back in with a weapon and I wanted to be proactive but when I went outside he was nowhere to be seen.” “I also didn’t feel any pressure or threat from him which is why I didn’t thump on him. I’ve been hit a lot harder in sparring and those guys wear padded gloves!”
“That’s a great story!” I responded. It captures a few great martial principles: “The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in combat”. “Don’t take things personally.” “Distinguish between cost and gain on all levels.” “I am really proud of how you handled the situation”.
He learned a valuable lesson without having to get beaten up, his wife maybe gained some insight into her relationship and situation and you exemplified composure under fire – it’s one thing to utilize it in the ring and yet it can be completely different in the battlefield outside the dojo.” “I’m sure a lot of people will gain some valuable insights from your experience!”