(photo: hattie mahatma)

As I learned from my experience, a healthy dose of skepticism should accompany any new venture. Being honest and truthful with others is very important, but it’s even more important to be honest with yourself. Be true to your own values, know what works for you, and never be willing to compromise. This may not always make you ‘popular,’ but it will make you someone who will earn the respect and admiration of others in the long run.

Be sure you, and those you associate with, don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk. You cannot, for example, promote a healthy lifestyle and “clean living” and be a smoker. Those values and actions are incongruent – they don’t match up!

Another concept held strongly by the Martial Science is that of being “congruent” with your teachings, and number one, “being honest” with yourself. Being congruent, in this case, means having true knowledge.

There are thousands of students learning techniques of self-defense that will just not work in a real fight. It is false evidence that appears real. Thus, we have a Black Belt teaching unrealistic, ineffective techniques to people who think they are learning a method of self-protection.

Unfortunately, they will not find out the truth until they are faced with real danger. It will then be too late. You may or may not be familiar with any martial arts systems or real street fighting for that matter. But I myself have never seen anyone in a so-called street fight throw a punch like they do in most martial art schools. So for this defense to be truly effective in real life, you would have to be facing a martial artist from your style, and he must also be restricted to the same conditions. How likely is that to occur?

Many instructors are incongruent with reality. Just as in life, many people point fingers at others while forgetting that there are just as many fingers pointed back at them. Everyone makes mistakes. Many systems should not focus on Self-Defense; they should be honest and just call it a martial art. This is really all it is, an art form, not a form of self-defense. This phenomena is seen in many places, not just in the realm of martial arts. There is nothing wrong, after all, with admiring and learning a system of martial arts for its aesthetic appeal, students just must inform themselves, and know precisely what they are getting.

When you are being true to yourself and honest with others, you will not only feel good about yourself, but the people you coach or learn with will be able to get more from your true experiences. Also, remember that some things work for some people while for others, they don’t. So if it doesn’t work for you, don’t preach it. This doesn’t mean what others are teaching is ineffective; it may just be ineffective for you. Be congruent with yourself. It must work for you, and if it does not, you must be honest with yourself and take full responsibility.

Smoke and Mirrors

Honesty is the same for people who smoke. This habit is totally unrealistic. If you smoke, then admit the fact that it is bad for you. Don’t make up excuses to avoid responsibility for your health. Maybe you could quit based on the fact that because you smoke, your kids or people that respect you might also pick up the unhealthy habit. Or perhaps you want to stop littering the streets with your personal garbage. Or will saving some money be a good motivator for you?

An example of incongruence – mismatched values

I remember when I was 18 and I had started a quest for more knowledge in the area of self improvement. I picked up a very popular book (titles and names left out to avoid conflict). In any case, I enjoyed reading it. I later discovered there was a place that was supposed to be teaching much of what was shared in the book. So I signed up for a course to further my knowledge. I was thirsty for knowledge and personal growth and the ideas in the book were exciting.

Most of my time spent there was focused on what they called, “flushing” and reliving negative experiences until they no longer had an effect on me. Sort of like building up a callus, or becoming desensitized. Once you have reached a state where you are no longer out of control, you are considered to be HEALED (though they had a fancy name for it). In the beginning, I was excited to be a part of something that seemed so positive. I loved teaching others, and part of the class process is to have you teach the new people. I know this can come off as having others do work that they should be doing themselves, but by helping others I was able to learn the information much faster myself.

Pass ‘Go’ and Pay Up

I eventually passed the first level of certification. After passing the first level, I had already decided I no longer wanted to continue any training at the organization. I was brought into an office where one of the senior and supposedly “HEALED” members gave me the sales pitch for the next level as well as the outrageous price of close to $3,000. (At 18 this was a lot of money.) I politely rejected the offer. But the senior member was not happy with my decision and threatened to revoke my certification for level one, which I had already earned. Their tactics were definitely ‘hard sell’.

One of the reasons I didn’t want to be around them anymore was because so many of the senior members smoked. I just couldn’t imagine a person who was supposed to be HEALED, to be a smoker. This was a place that helped people overcome their mental issues. So how is it that a person of such a high rank in the organization could be addicted and unable to control such a simple habit? So I couldn’t bring myself to respect the organization as a whole. After my time there, I actually started to wonder if smoking was a required habit for achieving success; it was quite prevalent.

Crack open the door of your mind, but don’t throw it wide open.

I believe that some of the philosophies that are taught are effective. But my experience has left a very bad memory of their organization in my head. There was a lot of incongruence in what was taught and what actually took place. It all would have been fine if they had left it alone at my rejection. Instead, they said that if I didn’t want to continue, it meant I hadn’t truly passed the first certification and they threatened to take it back. I walked out of the office never to return.

But they didn’t stop there. They continued to pester my girlfriend with the energy of a creditor trying to get her to come in for level one certification. Calling week after week even though they had been given verbal demands never to call again.

I have to stop for a moment and bring my thumb up, as even the memory of that time is troubling. And yet I am very happy for the experience. There is nearly always something positive to take away from every learning experience in life. I got to research more after reading the book, and it taught me some valuable lessons. Some people seem to be getting exactly what they want from the training. It just was not for me, and I believe in permission marketing, not spam.

Winjitsu Work Out

Think about segments of your life that may be incongruent. Do your actions match your words? How about your mentors, coaches, and those you look up to? Do their actions match their words? The more congruent your life, the more True Knowledge you will have.

About the Author RICK TEW

I will do the splits for you too. I provide edutainment events that help you to be a Ninja in what you do. I offer Martial Arts Therapy Retreats on Samui Island in Thailand. My unique Winjitsu Mind-Body system of coaching inspires you to BE more fulfilled and to DO more to KickStart your ideas.

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