Hubris in the Dojo

Hubris is my second favorite word; the first is Curmudgeon.
Mrs. O’Neal, my high school Ancient History teacher, introduced me to it many, many years ago. She taught, through the heroes in the Odyssey and the Iliad, that it is OK to be proud of your accomplishments, but not to the point of hubris. Such arrogance toward the Gods requires that they take action to remind you of your place.
 A Bo staff is a handy tool for recognizing Hubris.
At the moment when you think to yourself, “Hey, I am pretty awesome at this!” Surely a swift whack to the head or shin will closely follow.
Kids are Naturally Hubristic.
A wall of our dojo is covered with big mirrors. If kids are sparring, inevitably at least one will catch a glimpse of his awesomeness in the mirror and be captivated. Yes, you are awesome, but there is another kid kicking and punching you right now so please look at your partner.
There is a fine line between Confidence and Arrogance.
If someone is arrogantly sparring throughout the dojo one of two things is about to happen: either they are going to hurt someone else, because Ego always ends in Stupid, or they are about to receive a message from the Gods.
Confidence with Experience is Confidence. belt rl
Confidence without Experience is Hubris.
This is the yellow belt who walks down the street, alone, at night, because they Do Karate.
“Arrogance is in the Eye of the Beholder.” Steve Piela (A favorite past student)
When the beholder is fearful or jealous of another’s success they see Arrogance. They are judging without seeing: The years of training. The tears of failure. The moments of financial anguish. The pain of brokenness. The willingness to push through. To get up. To have faith. To let go of students who didn’t belong. To not take it personally. To cry anyway because no one can not take it personally all of the time.
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