Attitude Toward Training, Part 2: The Ego Issue
In the previous installment of Attitude Toward Training, we discussed the issues of rationalizing our mistakes. This next part will talk about the root of Rationalization: Ego.
You have seen it rear its ugly head in class: the smirk of a partner as he gets a hit in, or tempers flaring in a structure-less push and shove match between people who feel they have something to prove. You have probably been guilty of it yourself—I know I have been at times. It can become a road block to development as your focus on self-pride overshadows the function of class. Yet, as with most things, Ego has positive aspects to it as well: it often fuels the desire to improve if we use it as a motivation instead of allowing it to rationalize our shortcomings. To illustrate this enigma, I am going to recount a recent event.
|Thierry Cuvillier (right) schooled me in Chi Sao.|
|The goal of class is to improve the process to reach a result, not to get the result haphazardly.|
In my opinion, it should be left at the school door. Let your ego motivate you outside of class, to allow for a healthy competition that helps everyone progress. But once you step on the floor with your kung fu brothers and sisters, you should do your best to swallow your pride as you practice. Remember that the goal of working with a partner is to develop physical skills; not to prove you are king of the mountain. Feeling satisfaction with every hit you land while getting upset at every hit you take makes you focus on the final result (the hit) and not the process (how the hit landed). And class is about improving the process in order to achieve a result correctly, not about obtaining the result haphazardly.
Zen, which is practiced at the Shaolin Temple, emphasizes the idea of "No Mind" to obtain perfection in physical action.