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HONOR AND THE COST OF KEEPING YOUR WORD

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 25, 2012 by thebrutalityofreality

HONOR IS A PERSONAL THING,  HONOR IS SOMETHING CREATED FROM RITUALS AND DOCTRINES.

THE COMMON THREAD OF HONOR IS THIS…..  IT’S USUALLY THE HARDEST CHOICE AND THE ONE YOU BENEFIT FROM THE LEAST.   KEEPING YOUR WORD OFTEN MEANS THAT YOU SACRIFICE SOMETHING TO KEEP YOUR HONOR.

PERHAPS THE GREATEST HONOR COMES FROM FULFILLING A PROMISE TO A FRIEND.  EVEN IF IT MEANS THEY SEE YOU IN A BAD LIGHT,  AS LONG AS YOU SERVE THEM MORE THAN YOURSELF.   SOMETIMES THE BEST THING YOU CAN DO FOR SOMEONE IS TO LEAVE THEM ALONE.   SOMETIMES HONOR IS RECOGNIZING THAT NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU WANT SOMETHING,   YOU HAVE TO PUT THE NEEDS OF THE OTHER BEFORE YOURSELF AND RECOGNIZE THAT THEY DON’T NEED YOU AS MUCH AS YOU NEED THEM…….  AND PUSHING YOUR NEED WILL CAUSE THEM TO GIVE UP WHAT THEY HAVE,   AND WHAT THEY HAVE YOU CANNOT GIVE THEM.    HONOR REQUIRES SELFLESSNESS,  NOT SELFISH.

as usual i’m using the dragon head set so please forgive the mistakes,  the head set doesn’t always get it right,  I’m writing on short breaks, so forgive the more than normal jumping around.  Honor is something that cannot be stated too harshly, it must be eluded to and pointed out to allow someone to come up with their own meaning personal honor.

I’m sitting here the last few days on a security detail,   watching the hustle and bustle of the upcoming event.   Everyone wearing patches and symbols of their agencies or something.   They are all full of “honor:”   They are all walking around being seen and showing their expert skills.

However,  behind the scenes,  a few of us sit,  never noticed,  no uniform,  no title,   just floating around in casual dress blending in and trying to listen to  the crowds and workers.
We are lost in the craziness and when the event is taking place,   the majority of these ‘pros” will be hailed as the example of honor and professionalism.   The cops have gear, weapons, and massive numbers, the average security guy is just standing there staring off into space thinking about everything but his job- but making a presence,  no one really in the presence of danger.   But the few that are not seen,   the ones that are alone,   they are the warriors.   Those who walk among us that are never noticed are the ones with honor,  the honorable let the jerks shine.

“HONOR”      if you think too much about it,   it just doesn’t make sense

HONOR AND THE COST OF KEEPING YOUR WORD

There are many different interpretations of the word honor. Honor is one of those esoteric things that everyone claims to have, but rarely do we see it with our own eyes. From a young age we hear the word honor frequently throughout history. The word honor is thrown around so often that it has lost its meaning. So let’s start off with a few things that everybody can associate honor with. When we think of the elite fighting forces of our military the word honor comes to mind. Perhaps when you think of firefighters or law-enforcement you think of honor. It says it right there in the logo.   A symbol says they are all about honor.  It  has brainwashed everyone into believing that anyone in that line of work is honorable. Just take a look around and you will see there are few are on an honorable path.  Most are in that line of work to feed their egos,  for a power rush, and other reasons that have no honor.  On a side note,  I have a friend who is a retired fireman.  He was in Vietnam, Airborne Ranger,  now this guy has honor,  but he’s old and retired.  Even he sees the lack of honor in the young ones.

Honor was spoken of in the Bible through many references. Honor was the basis of life itself for the classical samurai. Honor is what this country is said to be founded upon. However, there is little honor left in the world.

It seems the more a culture or particular group speak of something the more they lack the something they are boasting about. Whether it be a rich heritage or honor itself, the more someone speaks of it the less there is of actual substance.

So what are we to think that real honor is? As is my style I always let the reader come up with their own conclusions. I will just throw out some ideas to spark your thoughts.

As I see it, the biggest thing about honor is doing something because it is right even though it is usually the hardest thing to do- you don’t take the easy way out even though there are much easier choices. I have found that a good rule of thumb is that the hard road is usually the right road for nothing easy is ever worth very much. In training, a true martial artist spends years trying to perfect the art. After all those years the true martial artist understands that it is much too big of an undertaking to try to perfect the art and chooses to start practicing a single move and trying to perfect that.  I keep saying that “true martial artist” because only a true warrior would spend so many years trying to accomplish a single thing. As the years go on by true martial artist sees flaws that never existed before. Perhaps in the first five years of training he thought that his techniques were coming along quite well and perfection was right around the corner. After some time, he would start to realize that there is a lot of room for improvement and turn his attention to a more detailed regimen. After another 10 or 15 years he would soon see that his techniques are very lacking and now instead of trying to perfect the entire art he would start chipping away like a sculptor – trying to perfect bits and pieces. There is honor in this as the true martial artist has embarked on a journey and basically given his word to someone or himself that training will be part of his life — a lifelong journey that can never be fulfilled until death. The honor comes from  never ending training. Through all the disappointments and all the self-realization of failure emerges the honor of the warrior who does not run but stays and makes it better. This, in contrast to today’s mockery of a martial artist, shows honor. In these modern times people rarely stick it out in one dojo for more than two or three years and actually get their black belts during that short time. The ones who stays longer usuaully stay because there is always immediate gratification and someone is always telling them how well they have done. But there is no honor in that. There is no honor in the easy way.

Now let’s turn our thoughts to honor in our daily lives.  For the sake of this article let’s talk about keeping our word. Whether in the office, on the sports field, within your family, among my friends, or in a bar were a bunch of drunks often give their word, we can see today the lack of honor at work. In the workplace people give their word all the time without any intention of keeping it. You may tell your boss you will complete an assignment when you have no intention of doing so while you already have an excuse lined up. You may tell coworkers a fabricated story to make yourself look good because someone has found out something bad about you. On the sports field there is no honor that I can see. Everyone speaks of winning and how they improve their game with that great “positive attitude”. I hate sports because of their lack of honor. I hate the “positive attitude” crap they are always spouting off about. Both sides say they have a superior attitude and yet one has to lose. Is it because of their attitude? I see positive attitude as the mark of the loser — I’m sure this raises quite a few eyebrows but it’s deeper than what you would think from the statement. In short someone who relies on a positive attitude but does nothing to back it up or quit as soon as their attitude is broken is a loser. I prefer to release attitudes entirely whether good or bad and just look at things realistically. There have been times in my life when I was sure that I would succeed and yet I failed. Conversely there have been several times when I was wholeheartedly convinced that I may not survive a certain ordeal and somehow I did. I won’t bring religion into this as everyone is religious when they are about to die, nor will I say it was just a superior attitude. It was a never quit attitude that had nothing to do with positive or negative- only the will to survive. However, when it comes to honor — I don’t see attitude as having any important role. Honor is something within you and it is something very personal. It cannot exist without ritual.

HONOR CANNOT EXIST WITHOUT RITUAL

just stop and think about that statement for a minute. Honor cannot exist without ritual. Think about what that means to you. I bet so many of you never really thought about honor so therefore you never thought about rituals or the role the ritual would play in keeping honor.

Honor in itself is a ritual. It is the ritual of doing the right thing for the right reason at all costs. Now sometimes honor can be taken to the extreme and things are done in the name of honor that are not very honorable. Other times honor can be used as an excuse to get something that you want. Let’s explore just a few examples of how the weak mind manipulates honor. Probably the most common example would be a fight. You’re sitting in a restaurant or even worse a bar with your girlfriend who is dressed like a slut and of course she keeps getting looks from all the guys trying to get a look up her skirt or down her blouse to rate the surgeons work. So you, being the honorable fellow that you are,  defend her so-called honor. You probably give a very threatening look back at all the drunks and eventually when someone makes a comment you feel that you must defend the honor of your slut bag girlfriend. Words are exchanged and if you had enough alcohol you engage in a physical confrontation all in the name of honor. I’m sure there may be a few of you out there reading this who have an issue with the way I keep referring to a male figure in all of my examples — nothing towards you manly females I’m just too lazy to keep writing he/she and I really don’t care about political correctness. By now you readers should now I write from the heart not the political manual. As far as my reference to the slut bag girlfriend it is pertinent and if you are offended by it perhaps you are someone;s slut bag girlfriend or you just have one of your own.    GOOD LUCK!

The first thing that we should explore in accordance with honor is who we give it to. If you’re a douche bag girlfriend or wife walks around with her tits hanging out or wearing a skirt so short that people think the former president came to town because all they see is “Bush”- then maybe you shouldn’t be fighting over her — maybe you should be making some money off of her. Though the concept seems correct in fighting for your woman sometimes it is not. The old codes of chivalry demanded that a woman’s honor be defended but it was meant to defend an honorable woman. In the aforementioned example there is no honor in fighting for a woman who invites comments. If you know that you will invite problems you should not be too surprised when they arrive. To make this an honorable example we will change the slut bag girlfriend to a conservatively dressed businesswoman type who is sitting there with her well behaved children who say yes ma’am and yes sir. And the husband, not boyfriend, is a well-built man exuding confidence and love for his family. In this example, if someone started making lewd comments to his wife, it would be honorable to smash their teeth out.

Let’s look at another example involving inter-office politics. You work in an office where gossip runs rampant. Promotions are coming up and you don’t want a bad rumor spread about your late-night antics at the bar a couple of months ago as it possibly may have involved a close female friend of the boss. In knowing that your ass is on the line if that should ever get, out you need a way to make yourself appear honorable. So Friday night comes and the same woman is at the bar. In an effort to erase your liability, you wait all night knowing that someone will make the same comments or be guilty of the same actions that you were a few weeks ago. Only this time you will defend her honor. So you sit around and wait all night. Finally, someone goes up to her and makes a comment about getting out of there and going somewhere else s for some fun. You casually stroll over and put yourself in a tactical position and even tell a few friends, “hey, I’ll be right back — I know that girl- I think that guys giving her some problems and I’m not going let that happen”. You take up your position and wait like a sniper or a recon ranger. And then you hear it -he finally offends her. You promptly step into action and ask her if this guy is bothering her — well you can use your imagination to figure out the rest. Monday morning rolls around and you quickly go to the boss stating that you hope you didn’t overstep any bounds as you have gotten wind that the boss may indeed know this woman — you go on to explain how things happened and, you being the honorable fellow that you are, could not just stand by and watch this abomination. You had to get involved and defend her honor. All this because you’re trying to cover up what you are guilty of. Clearly this is using honor for self gain. If we take out the wrong dishonorable actions long before the so-called honorable ones it may have indeed been an honorable act. However, it is rare that anyone ever does anything that does not benefit themselves.

I could go on all day with examples like this but I think you get the idea. Now let’s turn it to keeping your word. Honor cannot exist without rituals. You must have rituals in your life that continually ensure that you will do the honorable thing. For instance, it must be a ritual that when faced with failing at a task or completing one at all cost, it is your ritual that you will put everything else on hold so that you can complete that task. A good example of my own life is welding. I always wanted to learn how to weld and last year I bought a welder. I didn’t have any experience — I never even touched a welder. I watched YouTube videos for two months – 3-4 hours a night — and read all I could. I bought the welder, having no experience and made every mistake in the book. For eight months all I did was practice welding. I made security gates for my girlfriend, my parents, and myself. I learned as I went and screwed up so much that at times I just wanted to put a bullet in my head. But I did not quit. My ritual in life is that once something is hard and I see that I am failing at it, I see it as my enemy and diligently worked to conquer it. That welder was my enemy for many months. I would see it in my sleep and see the weld puddle in my mind every time I closed my eyes.  My dreams were filled the the mistakes i made that day- it was an unending torture.   Every night I would work for three or four hours on those gates and most of the time I would have to cut them up the next day and redo everything because I screwed up so bad the night before. But I kept trying and working through my problems. Now I am a pretty good welder. I have shown my welds to a few guys at the gym who work at a place that manufactures ambulances and fire trucks and some military equipment. They are very skilled so I trust what they have to say. In the beginning they roll their eyes and told me I should go to school. Every time I would go back to show them what I was doing, for months they would just keep telling me I really had to go to school to learn. In the end they couldn’t believe that I was showing them my work as the welds looked so good. One even offered me a job.

The point is I found honor in becoming a good welder. I had a task that I want to complete and my ritual is to never quit. If I had not been able to learn how to weld I would have felt a great dishonor and looked at myself as a loser because I could not complete something. However, I feel great honor in becoming the welder that I have become. No instruction, no formal teaching, just a lot of frustration, a lot of swearing and throwing shit around, and finally success.

So as usual I have taken a long way around to get to the point. The point is keeping your word and the honor that comes with it. This would be a much better world if everyone kept their word even when it wasn’t the easiest thing to do. Everyone gives their word about everything these days but they never keep it. People freely give their word because there is no consequence for breaking it. I think we would all have a much better society if there were dire consequences for breaking your word. For instance, let’s say someone offers to help you with the task around your house and give you their word that Saturday they would show up for four hours and help you complete that task. When Saturday comes around and they don’t show up — you call them and they calmly say, ” something came up will have to make it another time”. It should be legal and thought of as honorable that when you see them, you inform them that they have offended you by breaking their word. Their lack of honor now has to be dealt with. Wouldn’t it be great if after informing them you could give them a choice to either perform some duty for you or you would beat the crap out of them? Imagine how few people would give their word if there was physical violence coming their way as a consequence of them breaking their word. But in today’s society of civility and laws that govern everything — even how many times you can flush your toilet in some areas — you cannot impose a penalty on anyone for breaking their word.

I live my life with honor and now in my 40s I take great pride in being able to say that I have rarely ever broken my word and when I have, I have punished myself far greater than anyone else could punish me. Recently I was faced with the dilemma of keeping my word and bringing great pain upon myself or breaking my word and losing my honor. So now we get to the meat of this article. There is a price to be paid for keeping your word in showing honor. The lesson is to ponder heavily what you give your word about and be ready to give up everything to keep it. We must all develop doctrines in our life that will guide us. Too many people lack these doctrines and rituals. Therefore, just float through life making the same mistakes and always breaking their word. They are certain things in life that I cannot tolerate. Many people have told me through the years that I was just being stubborn when I kept my word but I don’t see it as stubborn, I see it as honorable. You must be willing to suffer for honor. You must be willing to lose everything to keep your word.

In my own life I have always made a point to be very clear with people about things that I cannot tolerate and what the consequences would be. But because they have little honor in their own lives they never take these words seriously and then blame me for what they bring upon themselves. Sometimes it has been business dealings where I would tell someone don’t ever break an appointment with me. By breaking the appointment you will break my trust and I cannot do business with someone I do not trust. They give their word but then they fail at keeping it. So even though we are making money together I walk away from the money because I have given my word. My word was the business dealings would stop as a consequence of them breaking appointments — for whatever reason they failed to show up, it does not sit well with me-short of death there is no excuse that is valid. As stated earlier honor a very subjective and personal thing but I feel that when you tell someone a certain action will bring a certain consequence they should not be surprised when a consequence arrives. Sometimes there are actions that cause great distress and loss and other times there are actions that are so negligible in the theme of life that people see them as unworthy of attention. However, I don’t look at things that way. I see a broken word in any manner as a broken word. If someone cares about you — values your friendship — or even professes to love you — they will heed warnings and not break certain protocols. Now this is not a one-sided game. If you are to expect that honor you should also be willing to give it. If someone tells me to never do something and informs me of the consequences that will follow if  i do preach the protocol, then I have to weigh the consequences with the action and if that person is important enough to me or the cause is important enough, I will not breach the protocol. Sometimes, however, people that care about us very deeply just let their guard down in a moment of weakness or frustration and breach of protocol. This leaves us in a very precarious situation. If we overlook the breach and no consequence follows the action, what we’re really saying is, “you can do this over and over and no consequence will follow”. They will surely commit the same act again and again knowing that there is no consequence. When someone breaches of protocol that you have emphatically stated never to do they have lost respect for you.  It is at this point that you must give the offender a chance to make it right.  Perhaps you tell someone to never sit on the hood of your car.  If they do not immediately apologize,  then you know you have lost their respect.  Sometimes the offender may breech protocol because they are pissed off about something,  but it’s at that point that they must ensure they are right in being pissed off and not bringing past emotional baggage into the scene.   If you are to impose the consequence,  you owe the offender the chance to make it right.   You must be right in being offended.  YOu cannot make a mistake here.   Let’s say the offender stopped texting you in the middle of a conversation.   You owe it to them to ensure they deliberately stopped texting.  In today’s world technology can fail.  You cannot assume they broke protocol.   Perhaps a call to  them asking if the offense was intentional is in order.   If they tell you they knowing broke the protocol because they were just pissed off about something,  then you know you lost their respect.    But you have kept your honor.  You didn’t act out over emotion.  You got it straight from them….  they intentional did what you asked them not to.    The only thing you have to count on in the future is more of the same on all levels of interaction.   Today a text, tomorrow a promise,  and disaster if you are making life changing plans with that person.

A very general example would be this. You have someone in your life that you care about very deeply, perhaps this person is the most important thing in your life. For the sake of this example and to drive home the point we cannot let this person be a casual relationship — let’s say that it is a person from your childhood that you have lost touch with. You are eager to show them that you turned out to be a pretty good person and have success. But you remember a childhood fight were you hurt them very badly. Let’s say for many years through your life, no matter how much success you attain and no matter who in your life made you happy or sad, you always felt a heavy guilt that you hurt this person when you were a child. Maybe you beat up your friend over a piece of candy or said something very hurtful to them in the heat of an emotional flare up. Perhaps it was even an honorable thing where you gave your word and told them if a certain thing happened again that you would no longer be friends and that thing happened. Perhaps that friend tried to come back and make things right but you kept your word seeing it as the honorable thing to do and knowing that for as many times as that protocol had been breached it would definitely be breached again so you finally reached a boiling point and walked away with some sort of honor. However, through the years as you grew and matured he looked back and saw your own flaws. Now that you have regained a relationship with your childhood friend whom you have tried to explain that being so young you couldn’t handle certain problems and didn’t know what else to do. You realize that you were wrong in many ways but when you look back at the circumstances stealing that piece of candy or saying that hurtful thing was forced upon you — it was not done out of vengeance it was done out of desperation and despair. So now in your adult life you want to show your childhood friend that you have matured and move beyond those childish emotions. Now they see you as a commanding personality and a power to be reckoned with. When you first meet you are both very professional and on guard and keep the motion out of the mix. There is an honor between the two of you. You are both older now and both have achieved success — there is no reason for childish emotion. However, knowing that perhaps you were the stronger child and your friend still sees you as a bully, if you truly want to be honorable you will allow your friend to now see you as the week victim.

So your honor will dictate your path. If you truly want to make up for what you have done as a child you will let your friend feel pity for you so that the anger and hurt will subside.  After establishing your success in life and gaining the respect of your childhood friend it is now time to show that the monster they once thought you were is actually still that helpless little child who is easily hurt. This selfish thing would be to go on letting the friend think that you have no remorse for what you did as a child. Your ego can easily direct you at this point because your friend sees that you have turned out okay. Why would you want anyone to think less of you? Well it comes to honor. If you know that you hurt this person as a child and for many years wanted to make it right then you must put your ego aside and let this person sort of walk on you to give them back the confidence that you took from them. Perhaps when you were a child you were quick to lash out and engage in a physical correction. Now, to make things right you must show your friend that he can do things to you and get away with it. Perhaps your friend has lived with a lack of confidence in some area because of what you did to them as a child — how you bullied them. Now as an adult to redeem your honor you must let them bully you and see you as a helpless child. The problem with this is the lack of respect and continuing lack of protocols that will surely follow. As time goes on and you show your friend how much you regret your childhood antics and try to explain that had it been a different time with different circumstances none of that would’ve happened, your friend will slowly put down the bags they have been carrying all these years but they will also enjoy new freedom and confidence at your expense. Perhaps your friends parents were the ones to blame. I know in my own life my childhood friends would come over and my mother would promptly put out a buffet of food. Their parents did not cook — I was not invited to their parents house — I was never cooked for or cared for by their parents — so when they came to my house I felt cheated that my family would be so good to them when I had nothing from the theirs. Most of the time it would end up that they grew very sleepy from eating a good meal and just wanted to go home — that was the end of my play date. Many times when we lash out at someone and we lack honor, it is not because we want to, but because we don’t know what else to do. Many times we lack the control to make anything better especially when we are young. Whether it be a friend, a boss, family, or anyone that holds authority above you or the one that you care about, it usually resolves into people that care about each other suffering and the ones that caused the suffering who don’t care to never have a bad day. Divorce, loss of family and friends, usually anything that hurts us is because of an extenuating circumstance beyond our control. Rarely is an argument between spouses about what they are arguing about. It is usually about something outside of their control for  if they were able to control it they would laminate the problem.

So I’m getting back to our example of childhood friends, now you want to do the honorable thing and allow your friend to put down the baggage they have carried with them all these years. Now that you are successful, you no longer claim ego. Now all that is important is to let your friend know how much you thought about them over the years and how much you regret your childhood actions and to make them understand that you never really wanted to hurt them but circumstances were beyond your control, and at that young age you didn’t know any better. So you let time heal the wounds and allow them to grow strong. However, during your interaction you make them aware of your doctrines of your adult life. Perhaps you still carry with you not tolerating anyone who breaks the word. You inform them that as an adult you no longer get mad and lash out when people break their word you just simply stop dealing with them. Perhaps you tell them right up front about all the things that will terminate the relationship. If they care, they will never break these protocols. In my own life I have matured beyond lashing out and now I tell everybody upfront- especially my students, as long as I am bitching at you — complaining to you — complaining about you and telling you all my problems to the point that you no longer wish to hear them —  it is only because I care about you and I am truly your friend. It is only when I start to complement and no longer share my problems that you know that I don’t care anymore. For instance, a student that I care about- I will continually bitch about and  degrade further the lack of technique and many times their lack of honor in their personal life. It is my job to teach and complements do not teach. I tell each new student as long as I am complaining and insulting your techniques you know that I care that you and they will continue to learn — I will show you the personal things specific to you that will make you succeed. At the point that I say good job and  “you can make it work that way so keep doing what you’re doing but everybody else try to do it this way”, that’s when you know I don’t care anymore. Unlike everyone else, I am the most hard to get along with when I truly care about someone because I care about every aspect of their life. When I no longer care, then I agree with everything and distance myself. Many times keeping my word has hurt me. But I have put myself in a pickle. I either keep my word and do the honorable thing or break my word and break my honor. I have tried both ways and find that it is better to keep your word in your honor. If someone is to breach a protocol that you have set forth and there is no consequence they will most certainly do it again and again. If you do not keep your word and walk away you will only invite frustration. You have to look at what is and not what you hope that it will be.

So you have to be very careful about what you commit your word to if you intend to keep it. You cannot give your word about too many things because then you will be forced to keep it. The things that you are forced into doing because of your careless word will not be pleasant or good for you. However, you cannot be scared to give your word because then you will commit to nothing and you will have no honor because you never sacrificed anything. It definitely is a fine line and there is no other way to learn except by mistakes which cause suffering consequences for breaking your word. The price you pay is suffering the consequences of keeping your word when possibly you should not have given it in the first place. The price of keeping your word is definitely a hefty one many times. It requires you to give up what is most dear to you or  what will benefit you the most.

In the end, at the termination of life, the only thing that lays in a casket with you is your honor. It cannot be seen, it cannot be touched, it cannot be felt — it is just something ,that hopefully a few people will show up, and they will know one thing- that what they remember about you is that you are honorable. In my own life I have no siblings, my parents are old and will be gone soon.The greatest mentor, friend, hero and strength in my life i lost some time ago and now i am alone on the planet.  I have no other family and sadly I have just broken up with my girlfriend of 11 years. My breakup was an example of honor. There were certain things that I said would pull us apart and things I gave my word about and now I am forced to keep them. In talking about honor with someone it was brought to my attention that I was lacking in and I had to get my life back on track. Though it pains me greatly and I am so very alone, it seemed that nothing was changing and to live without honor was more painful than this loneliness. I am a very needy person and now I have no one but I do have my honor. My girlfriend was the greatest – put up with all my faults. She literally saved my life more than once — a debt I cannot repay. Without going into it , i have had the connection that I had with my girlfriend — she was my student long before she was my girlfriend. But to appear honorable to one I must lose the other. I don’t know what could show more care to someone then when you give up what you truly need — what you need to just live daily if you’re such a needy person like me,  than to say I threw all this away for the sake of honor. Few would understand.

To go back to the example of the childhood friend, perhaps your career was the most important thing to you — the thing that made you get out of bed every morning because you loved putting on a suit and going to work and sitting in your big office telling people what to do all day. Over the years,  you have started to complain about little things.  The job just isn’t what it once was,  but it’s still better than any other that is around.  But your friend is tired of hearing you bitch.  Perhaps to restore your honor with your friend you would give it all up. Perhaps your friend would throw it in your face that your whole life has been driven by ego- that if you truly wanted to appear honorable you would throw your career away and get a meaningless job but you would have your honor. So you follow the advice and make yourself miserable in hopes that your childhood friend would see you with honor – that after all the years of making them carry baggage from you – you go and allow them to set that baggage down and get on with their life, and now you pick up some bags and carry them yourself.   The honor in following your friends advice has surely not been the easy choice, or the best,   but you do it honor your friend.

A few things come to mind that I would like to close with on the subject of honor. As stated earlier, honor is a very subjective thing. There is no finite line of what is honor. You must develop honor through your life by contemplating your mistakes and evaluating yourself from a neutral third party point of view. You can’t go back and undo what you’ve done so it is important not to make too many mistakes along the way. The only thing you could do is suffer the penance to try to make up for what you have failed to do. I hope that I have given a reader many things to think about. As usual I have jumped around from subject to subject and touching on things that probably seems very irrelevant to one person while another person may see them as very relevant and very personal. I hope that there is a reader out there that can identify with the things that I have talked about and understand that there is more to this article than the written word. I hope in general that everybody will ponder the honor in their own lives and understand that honor requires suffering. Several things I’d like to leave off with is the honor of martial arts, the honor of a warrior, and the honor of a friend.

The honor of martial arts is the commitment to the undertaking of seeking perfection not only in the physical but as well as the mental and spiritual aspects of your life. First, it starts out about violence, then it turns into a fitness type training, then you start to see things differently, and finally — and only if — you have acquired a deadly skill — the skill to take the life of another very easily and the experience of battle — do you start to contemplate life and see things for what they are. A martial artist who has never been in battle — in real fights- suffered real injury — is like a hot dog. It may look like a solid piece of meat- it claims to be made from prime cuts — but it’s really just all filler and scrap –bits and pieces of nothing like the guy who has 15 black belts but really know nothing about any of his arts-                                                   nothing of substance it’s not a porterhouse steak.                                                                                                                                                 No matter how much physical you practice and how good you get at it, the spiritual and mental come from actual battle. That was the foundations of the old ways and that is what’s missing today. Only after facing death can you appreciate life but you must be prepared mentally for that. I feel that there wouldn’t be as many suicides with our returning soldiers these days if they had a martial upbringing. I don’t think these kids have the discipline to go to war. They come from a world of iPods and texting — the military training is not what it used to be 50 years ago as they can no longer abuse the troops physically — the training simply does not prepare them mentally for hardships of war. In my own life after I have faced death several times and now in my 40s I feel my body aging – I look at the gray in my beard and hair daily, I am definitely changing my view on what is important in life. Sadly what I had no use for and abandon is now very important to me and I don’t have it. And what I work so hard to get is starting to mean less and less. My big house is starting to become more than I can handle for upkeep — my porche and my big truck are becoming a burden to keep clean as I am so anal about keeping a show car finish — I am starting to get more and more fearful about riding my Harley as people are getting killed almost weekly around here. What I want now is companionship and someone who truly cares about me but I don’t want the headaches that come with it. It’s like starving and having Liver put in front of you. Sure you can eat the liver and live another day but I really don’t like eating liver. I do want my cake but I can’t have that as I have a sugar problem and am prediabetic. I am still tough as nails — perhaps the toughest I’ve ever been — but now I have no need for it. When I was involved in operations that demanded physical and mental toughness and a lack of care about living for another day I did not have the skill nor the physical toughness that I have right now. Now that I have it there is no use for it and it is actually a liability the way the laws are today.

The honorable warrior. That is a deep subject. It is easier to keep honor in the battle of war than it is in the battle of daily life. When bullets are flying and death is imminent the adrenaline rush and proper training and mindset can make you do miraculous things. You’re forced to live with a constant awareness that you may die but the brotherhood and the mission supersede your fear. This has been proven over centuries as far as military tactics and training. It is still practiced today. These young soldiers are wounded but keep firing to save their brothers — they embraced death for the sake of the mission. They are in a world that they cannot find in civilian life — your brother has your back and you have his — single-minded in purpose and operating as a unit. That is honor. But then they come back to civilian life where no one keeps her word and no one could give two shits if you take another breath or live another day.

Honor and friendship. Definitely the hardest to find, the most obscure to see, and the easiest to be overlooked if it is ever there at all. I would say the most honorable thing anyone could do for another person is to sacrifice themselves, their happiness, their wants and needs, for the betterment of the other. And as far as giving your word, sometimes when you give your word it dooms the relationship from that moment. Whether you give your word about never advancing sexually towards a friends wife and break it which ended your relationship or telling someone to never hang up on you – even if the  conversation was out of frustration because that would definitely end that relationship. However you break your word or they break their word — the word must be kept. The tragedy about honor and friendship is that the honor that keeps you together is the same honor that will ultimately keep you apart. Once frustration takes over and the protocol is breached the person who has promised a consequence must keep their word or they will not have honor. Sometimes you have to push away the person that is closest to you — sometimes you lose the one that you love the most in life — sometimes you lose your family — sometimes you lose your life. It will never make sense to anyone but you what you see as honor. Only those who truly care about you will respect what you see as honor and perhaps if they have dishonored you, the too one day will try to make good on it. So in closing I will leave you with a short story about honor

There was a village and the young people were starting to discover new technology — the ways of the West. The village had survived for centuries by the old ways — no power — no running water — the toilet was a hole in the ground. You get the picture. The old ways were dying out and it eventually became so bad there were only a few elders left,  a few very young children who couldn’t leave, and the ancient way of life doomed to parish. As the elders died off, so did their knowledge of how to live.  The farming techniques, hunting methods,  everything that was traditionally passed on from old to young was dying out.  No one was talking of the old ways.  Rivals were seizing the advantage of the weak village – taking their food and killing off the few warriors left.   Certain doom awaited this village. There could not be another generation as the knowledge to survive was not passed on.  One old martial arts master lived in the village. He alone carried the secrets that were passed down from the original master when the village was settled. He alone carried the knowledge to produce another warrior and carry-on the tradition of this proud village. As the young people were leaving one of his students came to him and informed him that he too would be leaving as the village did not seem to have a bright future. Wars were starting with neighboring villages about land disputes, food was getting harder to find as the population was growing, and in general the life had just become too hard. He wanted to experience the comforts of new technology. The master asked him why he wanted to leave and what honor there was and taking on this easy way of life. The student replied telling the master about all the new inventions like microwaves, air-conditioning, and how great it would be to take a crap on an indoor toilet that flushes. The master again asked what honor does this lifestyle have to offer? The student again went on to tell him about all the conveniences of modern day life- it was just a short journey away to get on a plane and embark on this new easy life. After much conversation the master he did not understand this way of thinking and did not see any honor in the student’s decision. The student asked the master, “well what do you have to offer me if I stay?” The master replied, “all I can offer you is a hard life, hard training, and when our village is taken over- a short life and a painful death –” the student looked at the master with great confusion and before he could utter a word the master said, “stay anyway and keep your honor”.

Be careful what you can give your word about. Think about what it will mean to keep your honor if you are called to task and have to keep your word. At the end of life you may discover that keeping your honor has lost you everything or you may die peaceful knowing that you kept your word and your honor – that if you had neglected these things your life would have been far more cluttered and those who have hurt you would’ve kept on hurting you. Honor is not just about keeping your word, it’s also about when you give your word. It’s hard to give your word about anything these days when it concerns other people because no one will take you seriously if they lack honor. In a rare occasion when you do find someone who truly cares about you and you give your word, sometimes down the road in the heat of frustration something will be said or done that will put you to task in keeping your word. It may be the hardest thing you’ll ever do, it may be that you know you are throwing away what you searched for her for so many years, it may be that you bring a sadness on yourself that you can never get rid of, but you must keep your word. The trick is to exhaust all possibilities of rectifying something before it ever comes to this.

I think the greatest advice to end with is to be sure that you know what you are committing to and be sure you are able to keep that commitment. In the case of relationships, where things are usually blown out of proportion due to some type of emotion, it is important to look far down the road and know what the facts are before you act on them. Perhaps you meet someone who you think you want to spend rest of your life with, you better test the waters and piss them off to see what the outcome would be on a trivial matter because if you are living together you know there will be far worse things that will come along. If a joke or something trivial turns into a big thing then you know there is far greater things to follow if you embark on a journey together. If you’re looking for a business partner, you had better test the waters when it only concerns a few dollars to avoid bankruptcy later on. If you’re looking for a best friend and you casually say one day, “you are a bit of a bitch” — and they get all pissed off, then you known some day you would’ve said something bigger and that would’ve been a much bigger issue ending in a much bigger loss.

When people get upset is usually for something other than what they appear to be upset over. For instance, I cannot stand to be hung up on — early on I had a girlfriend that would always hang up on me. I was young and emotional. Now in my adult life it is my protocol that once someone hangs up on me I cannot go back to speaking with them. I make this very clear in the beginning of every relationship to ensure it will never happen unless they want to terminate our relationship. An old martial arts training partner who I was pretty tight with once hung up on me. I was trying to tell him about my girlfriend’s daughter helping me detail a van that had some chemical that I had put on the roof to get the scum off that had built up.  I sent the kid up there to scrub as I was too heavy and would have dented the roof. The strong chemical had burned her knees.  My girl was inside with her daughter trying to wash the chemical of. I felt so bad and scared of the consequences that I turned to my friend. He could not have a serious conversation with me and kept making jokes. I snapped at him telling him that this was a serious matter and that I just needed someone to talk to — he got all upset and yelled “fuck you” and hung up the phone. I never called him back and we never spoke for 12 years. The only reason why we ever made contact again was because his son was working at the grocery store and remembered me. I told the son to tell his father hi for me,  and the father told the kid to tell me high. I gave the kid my phone number and the father called me. It took another few years of casual calls every couple months or so until we started getting tight again but now the second time round I have laid down barriers that are not to be crossed as in my youth this guy used to pick on me and literally beat me up in martial arts class because I could not defend myself against such raw power and skill as he is 20 years my senior. When I look back, he showed little honor in abusing a young man that just wanted to learn. Now in my 40s, the age he was when I met him, I see I am very different — very honorable — compared to him as I would never treat a young kid as he treated me. But it all comes back to honor and giving our word. My first girlfriend had scarred me so badly by hanging up on me all the time that I could not take it as an adult when a grown man did it to me. Since then there have been a few that I’ve never spoken to again because of that. But I am always careful to tell somebody going into her relationship that the one thing that will definitely and are communication is to hang up on me because I had too much of it when I was a kid. So even though someone may hang up on me that means the world to me, whether it be a family member, a best friend, a business partner, a student — anyone — no matter how much they mean to me — I have given my word that once someone hangs up on me that will terminate communication and I am bound by honor to keep that word.

In closing I would refer back to the childhood friend. Let’s say that childhood friend hung up on you and it was your doctrine to never communicate with someone who hung up on you. If you have fulfilled your duty and allow them to put down the baggage that you made him carry all those years, then you have acted with honor. If you have allowed them to see you as a weak child and get rid of the view of the monster that once bullied them — if you have succeeded in making them understand that your childhood fights were not about you and him rather about people around you making the fights such as parents that would not let you play together or imposing curfews that interfered with your playtime, then you have acted with honor. In the end if your childhood friend is better off and you are suffering to make up for your past sins and you have acted with honor. It is rare that anyone sees this as honorable for doing the right thing but the one that cares about you — that truly loves you — will see that everything that you have done was for them and out of honor. Whether it be a girlfriend, family, or your gym buddy —  it takes people with honor to see honor and people without honor will never understand.

I hope the reader can come up with some examples of honor and dishonor in their own lives and from now on will act more diligently with the consideration of honor. I hope the reader will not be afraid to give their word and commit to things but will always evaluate what they are committing to and not give their word to freely. In as far as the martial artist, well I think we are the last dinosaurs soon to be wiped out by modern civilization and immediate gratification. It seems there is no place left for personal honor -only what the collective society sees as honor.

The ignorant are truly the bliss. A bird who has lived its life in a cage with clipped wings does not miss flying and soaring to great heights looking down on the earth. But a bird who has lived his life doing such things, being free, living life to its raw limits would rather die than have its wings clipped and finish its days in a cage. People who have done nothing with their life, who have not experienced hardship and looked death in the face cannot understand many things such as honor. It is sad that when people of honor come together the very thing that makes them honorable usually keeps them apart. A good friend would never have an affair with his best friend’s wife. Sometimes two people are meant to be together but because of honor they cannot. A good business partner would not cut a deal that would be the best financial move of his life for the sake of personal gain if it was not honorable.  For the sake of honor and not being a cheat to his partner, he must pass up this one time opportunity.  But that honor is what may very well destroy his life – he is giving up the one time chance at being a multimillionaire.

So think about the end of life so that you can direct your journey. If you just live life day to day there is no reason for honor. If you think about your final hours and what you’ll think about when death is approaching, you will carve out your journey a little differently.

“Not being tense but ready.
Not thinking but not dreaming.
Not being set but flexible.
Liberation from the uneasy sense of confinement.
It is being wholly and quietly alive, aware and alert, ready for whatever may come.”
Bruce Lee, Tao of Jeet Kune Do

The tongue like a sharp knife… Kills without drawing blood.
Buddha

It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.
Buddha

To be idle is a short road to death and to be diligent is a way of life; foolish people are idle, wise people are diligent.
Buddha

Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.
Buddha

The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.
Buddha

I never see what has been done; I only see what remains to be done

budha

 

I suppose the best compliment anyone could give another person,  “I’m proud of what you have become,   even if you had to throw me off the cliff to prove your strength”.

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