September 15, 2018, Israel and New Zealand
I am honored to present a rather interesting and thought provoking, even challenging, article by officer Bryan Ward, a veteran IKI instructor in New Zealand.
Quotes all over the place, in particular in our day of social media, they are often inspiring but the question raised here is how valuable are they as life guides?
I feel the problem, alluded to here, is that the quotes are often wise but not often understand fully but those who quote them. The speaker has not studied the source or fully understood the material, much like an average student who attends a martial arts seminar and walks away with a few cool looking techniques but does not understand the underlying forces.
I believe this idea was expressed best back in the 11th century by famed rabbi Bahya ben Joseph ibn Paguda, authoer of the classic "Duties of the Heart". He is believed to have lived in Zaragoza, Spain, first half of the eleventh century.
He wrote do not become a "Donkey carrying books". i.e. many so called scholars are full of quotes and can recite many passages but they are simply "carrying books" and are no wiser than a donkey who can carry on his back many holy books. The donkey is no wiser for this experience.
Thus the message is that it is not enough just to quote the wisdom of others, one needs to understand the source and the deeper meaning. Many quotes sound good but, alas, offer very little guidance. Quotes are a shortcut to true wisdom, and like most short cuts, often dangerous.
How helpful are those quotes?
We often see on a daily basis the use of quotes to inspire yourself, others or as I have seen professional sports teams who have these as a rallying cry for that week's game while they are on defense or need a motivational lift during a game.
But do they work and why is this is a self defense blog?
Simply put because I get people either sharing quotes with me when they find a good one or because people often as what's your favorite quote.
I remember reading a few years ago a book by an SAS member who said that all the quotes in the world aren't worth the paper they are printed on mostly and that he only that counts it "Focus on the mission."
I tend to agree...mostly.
I think that the use of quotes is over the top these days and often people have affirmations, quotes they have seen during the day and then favorite quotes hanging around their house too. So by the time you have done all these ones plus the ones your life coach, trainer, instructor, gave you today and then social media too...what was the third one you saw today...you get the picture.
Having one trained with a person (I kid you not) who spent thirty minutes before class looking at a poster of a tiger so that he could 'harness the internal energy and power of a tiger' during the class I think I am an open minded person...but experience has lead me to find out sometimes the hard way that when I am being attacked (be it sparring, a scenario or real life situation) it doesn't matter what quote I have read or which feline I have exchanged glances with...none of it means much in the dojo of hard knocks (especially when someone is trying to hit you).
Towards the end of his best-selling book The Happiness Equation: Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything, Neil Pasricha produces a great table showing how popular self-helpy sayings are frequently negated by other popular self-helpy sayings.
For example: “Birds of a feather flock together / Opposites attract.”
“Nothing ventured, nothing gained / Better safe than sorry.”Good things come to those who wait / The early bird gets the worm.”
From this, he extrapolated: “So what’s the single best piece of advice you’ll ever take? Don’t take advice.”
The book ends as follows:
“The answers are all inside you.
“Think deep and decide what’s best.
“Go forth and be happy.
“And don’t take advice.”
Sound advice possibly…me personally I think maybe have one or two quotes that inspire you do to do things be it in life, the gym/dojo or your relationships with others…but lets not go over the top with it and don’t get fooled by all the unicorns, sunshine and rainbows folks.
If you wanted another reason maybe not to go over the top with the quotes then go and check out PHD candidate Gordon Pennycook and a team of researchers from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, who tested hundreds of participants to make the link, detailing their findings in a paper entitled ‘On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bulls.
Start Your REAL Training TODAY
Or is someone coming to save you?
IKI Krav Maga on line distance training - Leading to ranks and certification.
Personal Training - If you are interested in personal Krav Maga training please contact us on the form below.