The Invisible Warrior

First, let me relate a couple of recent things.

The first occurred when a kyu rank (karate) tossed a casual head-high kick at a young woman outside of their school. I am reasonably certain he was trying to impress her, or me, or both.

He got a reaction from me, but I doubt it was what he expected.

"Stop that; never do that again. The only two places for your karate are in the dojo where you train, and in defense of yourself or others. Ideally the rest of the world should not even know you practice martial arts until you are forced to use it"

How much does that differ from the ways of our modern world?

The second happened somewhat differently. I recently enrolled Caitlin in taekwondo at Impact America Martial Arts, run by my good friend Scott Wilkinson Sabom. It is a new experience for me, sitting behind the railing in the parent viewing area and watching someone else train your loved ones.

Anyway, the other day a student was struggling with their uniform and I made a suggestion to the parent. The father seemed grateful for the help but another parent (not involved) snapped "what do you know about it?". I will admit I was tempted to answer her question with a full-blown, detailed explanation of exactly why I "know something about it" but after a moment of thought simply smiled, shrugged my shoulders and walked away.

Let us look at a couple of ancient examples of the warrior: Okinawa, the birthplace of karate; and Japan, a nation dedicated to defense against outside threats.

Throughout the history of Okinawa from the Ryuku Kingdoms through the Japanese occupation and into modern times the prevailing attitude was one of hidden strength. Students trained with Masters in private and often in secret; concealing their ability from all. The Ryuku Kingdoms disarmed their population, which had no effect on visitors or government officials. When Japan occupied Okinawa their first act was to reinforce this to a much greater extent.

Being able to fight was necessary to protect ones self but in any unarmed fight against armed opponents the element of surprise gives huge advantage. So, humility and hidden strength became the way of the fighter.

Japan, on the other hand, had a very stratified social structure for most of its history. The most common example of this is the Samurai; although there were other far more numerous warrior castes in Japan. Samurai stand out because they were the "nobility" of their ages. But, there were far more born to Samurai but without lands, materials or wealth than with. Many more "have nots" than "haves" if you will and yet all had the responsibility of the samurai. In many cases these men were little more than thugs, most sought employment with other more powerful Samurai families. Most wanted to improve their status and so developed a gaudy, "look at me" lifestyle.

The truly powerful Samurai often did not want to be noticed; when you are in power you develop enemies everywhere. This is true whether you are good or evil; if you are good then the evil men you stop will hate you and plot your downfall and if you are evil then the good men surrounding you will despise you and plot your downfall. And so, those with the most power also trained the most dilligently in their martial skills while presenting an air of "invisibility".

Consider wrapping your own self in this martial artist's "cloak of invisiblilty"