Whatever Works!

So many people obsess over the question, “Am I right?  Or am I wrong?”  As if they are a Prosecutor explaining their case to some sort of Judicial Court presenting evidence awaiting the verdict.  Like everyone else, I used to be just as obsessed thinking that if I could just find at least one person to agree that I am “right” then I felt justified in however I was feeling and/or whatever action I did.  But I found though that this question of “right” and “wrong” is so subjective that it is rarely helpful when people agree or even disagree.  The question of “right” vs “wrong” implies that there is a moral dilemma, that there are only two choices, and that if you are “wrong” the earth will crack open and swallow you into the Gates of Hell.

In a search for something more helpful, I found the answer taught to me by my Jujitsu Instructor….

Being a female who loves martial arts, I had to get used to the fact that 99% of the time I would be the only woman in the class and the smallest/thinnest in the class.  So it was always quite comical when my Instructor would pair me up with the largest guy to be my opponent.  Standing at 6’7” and about 300lbs, it did not seem my partner required martial arts training to defend himself against me who was 110lbs soaking wet.

As we would practice together, I noticed that my technique had to be excellent to take him down whereas my partner barely had to lift a pinky to throw me across the room.   This was also the same when my large partner would practice with the others in the class.  He barely used any technique at all and just used his weight to great effect in throwing people around.  The others (being men) were not as used to getting tossed around like rag dolls as I was, lol.  They would get so frustrated and as they gingerly would get up off the floor nursing their injuries shouted, “Sensei, he is not doing the technique right!”

Sensei would calmly explain, “I agree his technique needs perfecting especially if he were up against an opponent his size.  But there is no ‘right’ and ‘wrong’.  There is only ‘what works’ and ‘what doesn’t work’.  Did he throw you across the room?  Then it worked.  Did you get tossed across the room?  Your technique did not work.  He uses his size to his advantage and that will happen in a real life situation.  Focus more on what is working for you rather than what is not.”

This was very insightful for me especially outside the dojo and in everyday life.  Life is not fair nor so black and white, as much as we would want it to be.  Rather than questioning the “right” and “wrong” of anything, it is more helpful to change the question “Does this situation work (not work) for me?”  If the answer is “not”, then you have to change something or do something differently.  Just like my classmates complaining about my large partner, they could not do anything about his size but they could change how they reacted and/or their technique when opposing him.  As in life, you will never be able to change the other person, but there is always something you can change within yourself and how you react so you can reach what does work for you.   

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