Episode 12: The Martial Arts Personality – Part 1
In this episode of the Martial Art of Self, we discuss the Martial Arts Personality.
Often we create a personality or virtual entity around the things we do, be it sports, painting, career, education, or martial arts. This suit or mask is mostly limiting. We often lose interest or focus on other things life has to offer. We become consumed by only one or two main things we do.
To step outside such a suit and take off the mask requires us to ask the difficult questions. It requires courage to face something that makes us feel good and question it. But it is rewarding. We discover our true expression and much more life has to offer that we can use to benefit the thing we love doing and expressing through, such as martial arts.
Here I share when I became aware of my Martial Arts personality, how it was, what is was, and how I am moving forward with it to free myself from it so that I can keep on expanding and actualizing myself further.
I also did a blog post on this topic if you enjoy to read more.
Music by Fidelis Spies
[00:00] Welcome to the Martial Art of Self podcast, a podcast about bringing the essence of martial arts back to self.
[00:12] Hi everyone, this is Aldin, and in today’s episode, we are discussing the Martial Arts Personality.
[00:22] I picked this topic because I have lately and for some time observed within myself that I have defined myself according to the discipline and path of martial arts, where I started to make martial arts so much in my mind, where martial arts would take almost my complete thinking process over and I would barely have any other space inside myself, inside my mind for other things, and so what happened is that I noticed how I started to disregard other parts in my life, and other things that aren’t necessarily martial arts, or about martial arts.
[01:11] And, I saw that I was thinking and believing — it’s funny, because I started to believe that to be a true martial artist I require to abandon, I have to abandon and I have to give up everything but martial arts in my life, and that I need to have my focus, my attention, my effort, and all my energy all concentrated on doing things, and thinking only in martial arts ways, and in the context of martial arts. Where I internally — I have developed over time this mind, or mental quality, if you will, where I would quickly in a moment analyze something and if according to that analysis I think — or, I don’t think that it’s about martial arts I disregard it and never even give it, or give me myself a chance and a moment to explore it further just because within my mind I have labeled and defined it as ‘it isn’t martial arts relevant’.
[02:22] And, I am sure you have — many of you have also experienced this if you really quiet your mind, and you really look at yourself, and you ask yourself this question about martial arts, and how much is martial arts taking over in my life? How much have I made martial arts my life? How much impact does martial arts have in my life?
[02:45] And, for myself when I started to see and noticed, and I’ve started to see this that I have defined martial arts to be so much of my life. I’ve started to see it maybe.. gosh.. I would say maybe nine to twelve months ago, and I haven’t done anything about it back then, but I noticed it being there and creeping up here and there, and the realization coming through here and there throughout the moments of my day. And, when I started to lately, within the last couple of days or weeks to look at it more deeply and actively, is that I started to see a fear. It was me being afraid to challenge this point in my life, this point of challenging my relationship to martial arts and having made martial arts this huge part of my life, or I have made martial arts my entire life or almost my entire life, and now to challenge that relationship and say or state that it’s okay to not make it your entire life, and that to make it your entire life is actually limiting yourself and limiting your self-expansion, your self-understanding and your self-creation because, I mean, you are through that disregarding many other potential disciplines and subjects that would have, you know, benefited me, for example in my case, or they could have benefited me but what happened is that because I’ve made, and I’ve allowed myself to make martial arts my entire life, everything I do, only seeing it through the lense, the spectacles of martial arts is that I ended up — I mean I passed on them, I passed on those potential opportunities, and moments, and other things that aren’t necessarily about martial arts, because of this ingrained idea, this belief that I picked up somewhere throughout my life, where I see it as ‘It’s either martial arts in or martial arts out’. Meaning that I am either making martial arts 100% of my time, my effort, my life, everything I pour into it, or it’s none of it.
[05:14] Where I saw martial arts, and doing martial arts, and walking this path of martial arts only as like black and white, and in this weird binary way, where I would see it as either I do 100% martial arts, meaning I pour everything of my effort, my time, my thinking, my mentality, and my actions into the martial arts way, or I don’t do it at all, or it means I am not a true martial artist for that regard.
[05:46] And then I started to see, and realize, and consider that there are actually many shades of gray in between that black and white there, and between ‘doing martial arts’ and ‘not doing martial arts’, and to more importantly — what was the more important realization there was that martial arts is a PART of my life, it is a TOOL, an — it is an additional TOOL, not the only tool, it is an additional tool that should serve ME and my PROCESS of self-investigation, to reach deeper levels of self-understanding, getting to know myself, getting to know my mind, my body, my thoughts, my emotions, getting to know the inner chit-chat that for example — or through which for example I judges myself for example for the way I do certain things, and so on. Many of you, I mean, I am certain and sure have these inner talks and conversations happening in your mind, and a lot of it self-judgment based, and in a nature of self-judgment, and things like that.
[07:03] In this regard I started to see and understand that martial arts as a tool should be something through which, or through which application by doing it I serve myself, and I serve my self-actualization, I serve my self-expansion, I serve my self-creation process, I serve my process of me getting to know me in all parts and all dimensions of me in totality.
[07:36] And, that martial arts should not be something that I serve, like me serving martial arts. Meaning that something that I allow to take over my complete life where I am only tunnel visions in and about martial arts, and the only thing that exists is martial arts, and I disregard anything and everything else in my life and in life that isn’t according to me or according to someone else, that branded or labeled — that is branded or labeled as martial arts or worthy of martial arts or a martial artist, meaning someone who practices and lives martial arts principles and processes shouldn’t do it because it isn’t necessarily martial arts. That type of thinking.
[08:27] What I later on realized is that I have created a personality of martial arts. I have personified martial arts. I have created a personality, and a character inside my mind of martial arts, and of being a martial artist. Where through my mind I have created this virtual entity, if you will, or this suit, or this mask that I step in, and that I put on and when I do step into that suite and when I do wear that mask I then say to myself and to the world ‘I am a martial artist’, ‘Look at me I am a martial artist’, and with this suit, with this character and with this personality that I call martial artist I have through my mind attached certain thoughts, certain memories, certain images about martial arts, and I have attached certain feelings and certain emotions like for example pride, feeling disciplined, feeling strong, feeling courageous, feeling angry or anger, feeling rage, feeling powerful, feeling superior, feeling arrogant, or feeling weak, feeling unworthy, feeling better then, and so on. With this suit on I become a different entity if you will, I become a different person. And this suit makes me feel so good I’ve realized that I am afraid to challenge it, because I am afraid that I will lose it or that I will have to give it up someway through this process of challenging it, and I am afraid to give it up, because I have made martial arts and being a martial artist the only or the primary thing of my life and in my life by making my entire life almost exclusively about martial arts and about being a martial artist, where I think, I speak, I research, I move, I spend my time, and so on all the time, or most of the time at least in the context of martial arts, and to benefit my martial arts. And, if I challenge this personality, this suit that I call being a martial artist, I may run the risk of losing my self-definition and because I have nothing else by which I define me but martial arts I am afraid that I will no longer know who I am, I will have lost my identity, if you will. So, that was the fear that I realized for myself by self-investigating this process that started happening within myself, and I am sure it started many years ago, but I became more aware last year of it, and now started really digging deeper into it within the last couple of days and weeks.
[11:32] What helped me is this — what came through is this realization, this understanding through the self-investigation process that I am understanding, and that I am seeing that, and considering that I am not a suit and that I am not one personality or one character only if you will. I am not one way only.
[11:52] And, that in the first place that I wasn’t born with this martial arts suit on, but that I have created it, that there is nothing — and I mean there is nothing wrong with being a martial artist. That’s not what I am saying at all. This is just me challenging the personality, this virtual entity that I have created that I have come to call and define martial arts, and being a martial artist, where I have — where this personality, this suit has become all that I know, and has served the function of only limiting me, and not really allowing me to expand myself in multiple different ways, and forms. So, I am not saying defining yourself, or seeing yourself as a martial artist is bad. I mean, I see myself as a martial artist, but I am challenging this personality, this idea, this character that I have created around martial arts, and being a martial artist only. So, that there is nothing wrong with being a martial artist, but that I should be aware, and deploy self-awareness in this context, and be cautious to not allow it to take over my entire life and my entire identity, if you will, where all I know myself by is only martial arts and being a martial artist.
[13:21] Because, I mean, I as a being — I mean, we as a being, I mean we are so much more than just a suit or a personality of ‘being a martial artist’, or ‘being a painter’, or ‘being a speaker’, or ‘being a podcast host’, or ‘being a content creator’, and that I shouldn’t exclude one over the other, but instead use everything, every single tool, and every single method that I learn or encounter or figure out in my life – I should use that as an additional tool to aid and help me in and towards this ultimate goal, which is to understand myself, to expand myself, to actualize myself, to create myself, and to learn what it means to actually live life and discover and create my unique individual self-expression and support myself in that self-expression.
[14:24] What also, what I discovered within this process of self-investigation is this fear that by not defining myself as a martial artist only and exclusively I am somehow violating some actual martial arts laws or principles, where the fact is that by not defining myself as a martial artist only in any way is not a violation of any martial arts law or principle. That is just an idea, a belief, a fear that has come from somewhere, it hasn’t originated from me, I have picked it up somewhere, I have created it somehow through something, and that I am actually — what I see is that I am afraid for no reason and that I am mainly crippled, what I saw, by the fear of being judged and the judgment of other and by other martial artists, but I see, and I realize and I understood that if I am that afraid of other martial artist and how they judge me, what judgements they deploy on me, either positive or negative, that what that shows to me is that I am walking my martial arts and my martial arts process in the shadow of the fears and of the judgments, of being judged by other martial artist and other people, and so what this showed me and shows me is that I need to revise my starting point of why I am doing martial arts, and I need to fix it so that it is me, it is that I am walking martial arts and I am walking my martial arts process for me, and not for other people.
[16:06] Alright, I think we will be going up to here for this episode. There is definitely a lot more to the martial arts personality that I would like to discuss in future episodes. So, I took a note, and I will bring this discussion and topic of the martial arts personality in future episodes. Thank you very much. See you in the next episode.
[16:35] Thank you for listening to the Martial Art of Self podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, then please subscribe and leave a review on iTunes. You can also follow this podcast on Twitter and Instagram. For more information about the Martial Art of Self, please visit martialartofself.com