As Skyhooks sang “Ego is not a dirty word” (July 1975), is it?

Do you need an ego to be a good Martial Artist or does it hold you back?

Does Ego drive you on to be better, to learn more?

The Oxford dictionary list Ego as: “a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance”.

What if we had no Ego? Would we keep striving to improve?

One of the philosophies of Taekwondo is:

Always be yourself even though your circumstances may change.

This in my opinion is an important philosophy and a difficult one to achieve.  As you learn more it becomes more difficult to keep your Ego in check, it is almost natural to believe in your own self importance as you progress through the ranks.

I am not saying that Ego is bad, without it most people would not try to achieve, but at what point does it get in the way of real knowledge and skill.

My instructor Grand Master Low is an extremely skilled practitioner.  He is powerful, has an immense knowledge from decades of training and an almost magical ability to anticipate an opponent, and yet there are many times I have seen him give way, be gentle and ultimately is that not what being humble is.

So do you have to lose your Ego to be humble, I am not sure, perhaps you need to acknowledge it and accept it and gently move it to one side to make room for more skills and knowledge.

Is it easy to do, I don’t think so because I am still trying.

The Martial and/or the Art

You have probably heard this saying many times, I have from peers and seniors:

the more I learn the less I know.”

I find this to be inescapably true, the more I think about a technique, the more I realise, how much more I need to study it.  There are so many levels, so many details to consider.

Does meditating on a technique, on its beauty, how to gain more power, does it drive you towards studying the Art as opposed to the Martial?

Is diving into a technique so deeply almost a spiritual experience?

I have only questions at this stage, not answers and there are so many questions.

When I was young it was all about the fighting/sparing and self-defence, I loved it, I craved it.  As I get older, (not sure I like this getting older thing, but it is inevitable) I find I am drawn more to the Art.  To strive for that perfection that is out of my reach, at this stage anyway, maybe forever.

Does working on the Art detract from the actual self-defence?

Perhaps it is a silly question, I do not know, but as I think about the Art, I wonder is the Martial more instinctive, more in the moment.

I have witnessed some beautiful moments in the ring, seen some practitioners, who are poetry in motion.  So beautiful it takes your breath away.

Does the Art lead to the Martial or the Martial to the Art?

Or do they always belong together, as the name suggests.

Martial Arts