What brought me to the path of martial arts

My goal was an ideal. After I was six and before I was 15, I wondered why it is that truth, honesty, and justice were valued, yet the tools of killing and deception were superior in generating their preferred consequences.

I can’t say I got such ideals from a person or a philosophy. They were internal to me when I observed an action or a person. I felt negative when people won because of deceit and violence. I felt positive when honesty was paid its due and compassion/justice won the day.

The disharmony between the positive and the negative facets of humanity was a constant mystery and puzzle for me. The culture I was brought up in taught that the use of violence or of killing was a crime against society. That there was never any justification for it. On the other hand, I would often see those who were honest and who didn’t hide their intentions suffering in the popular media of the day as well as in my daily experiences.

Why was it that honesty and justice were deemed virtues to be pursued by humanity, yet deception and cruelty were still superior in getting results. Shouldn’t The Good actually be better than the Evil? And if the Good is not better, more powerful, and more successful than the Evil, then what is truly good and what is truly evil here.

I could no longer find the answers simply by puzzling over the ideal. So I went and looked at reality to see if real life experience of the day or the days of ancestors long gone could provide me the answers I sought. I found it in the lives of those who fought in wars uncounted throughout the entirety of human history. Whether the goals were durable or not, their stories never changed. Their decisions varied from one person to another, yes. That was all. A very clear sight it was when I saw a way of thinking and acting that cut through the Gordian knot of violent methods and compassionate goals.

Sun Tzu. Death is lighter than a feather, duty heavier than mountains. Thermopylae. The Alamo. Valley Forge. Clausewitz. The Crusades. Saladin. The Second and Third Punic Wars. Hannibal Barca. Cannae. Charles Martel.

What was it that they all sought. And how did they seek to accomplish it. Eventually, while absorbing the lessons of the past, I came across something I could learn in the now. I sought a philosophy and a training that mirrored my own values and priorities. I had finally found it, after almost a decade of seeking. It never answered why people behaved so inconsistently with what society purported to value, but it led to that answer eventually. It formed the foundation at least.

My motivation was essentially entirely internal. Nobody pushed me towards the goal, other than myself. Nobody punished me for failing, other than myself.

Only when you know how to kill can you afford to be a pacifist.

Compassion and mercy are the privileges of the strong.

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