Encountering Ourselves to Move Onward (A Maryland Jeet Kune Do Mission Statement)

Encountering Ourselves to Move Onward (A Maryland Jeet Kune Do Mission Statement)

A couple weeks ago, a man applied to join Maryland Jeet Kune Do, here in Millersville.  He said he was very passionate about JKD, and had several DVD sets from various other Jeet Kune Do instructors.  Each one he named had marketed themselves as a "street fighter", "trainer of hardcore military killers" or otherwise wrapped themselves in the mantle of "the warrior" without having ever actually waged war on anyone.  Having met many of these men, and trained and been mentored by a couple, I knew that while there may have been a kernel of truth to their claims, their marketing had often blown things very much out of proportion.

Everything about this potentional member, from our phone conversation to his behavior on the mat was off in some way.  He was very intense and very much interested in learning new ways to hurt people.  Shortly after he left his Introductory Session, I ran his name through the public records database.  After reviewing several cases of assault, charges of domestic violence, multiple peace orders, and failure to pay child support, I rejected his application to join Maryland Jeet Kune Do.

His reaction when I informed him of this was as it would be expected; angry to the point of being threatening.  He stated he had paid for over $2,000 worth of Jeet Kune Do DVDs from other instructors and would pay me just as much for instruction and certification.  I suppose that's where the child support money went.  Sadly, I deal with applications from gentlemen like this at list once or twice a month.

In the notes collected in the Tao of Jeet Kune Do, Sijo Bruce Lee lays out the twin aims of training in martial arts:

The tools, your natural weapons, have a double purpose:

1. To destroy the opponent in front of you - annihilation of things that stand in the way of peace, justice, and humanity.

2.  To destroy your own impulses caused by the instincts of self-preservation.  To destroy anything bothering your mind.  Not to hurt anyone, but to overcome your own greed, anger and folly.  Jeet Kune Do is directed toward oneself.

There is nothing there about being the deadliest street fighter on the block or the bloodiest warrior or hardcore killer.  He goes on to say that punches and kicks are tools to kill the ego on the way to enlightenment.  Fighting proficiency certainly is a key aspect of practicing Jeet Kune Do...but what are you fighting for?  Who are you fighting?

Within a certain segment of our community, it seems that Jeet Kune Do has gained a reputation as an avenue to satisfy the ego by learning how to hurt others more effectively.  I am glad that despite this, we have managed to form a family here at Maryland Jeet Kune Do that is full of people devoted to the twin aims that Sijo laid out, that practice Jeet Kune Do to be positive influence in their community by learning to better themselves.  There is no better victory than each life changed for the better.

It can often be painful to realize something about yourself; that moment when you take a look in the mirror and don't see a body that is a powerful tool and ally to help you meet your goals or you find out from a friend that what you said or did hurt them, whether or not you intended to.

I want you to consider that the pain of realizing that you aren't who you thought you were is actually the fuel you need to become who you want to be.

I don't know how it is for you, but it has been my experience that confronting my failings in my disciplined adherence to working out and my diet fueled me to take greater responsibility for my actions.  Confronting my failings in my relationship has brought about so much learning and increased communication as my wife and I grow with each other.  Confronting the acts of some of my mentors in Jeet Kune Do, and the type of people they attracted, has directly led to changes in the way I teach, in the way I pursue the martial arts, and in the positive energy of the family we have built at Maryland Jeet Kune Do.

Eric Hoffer was an American political and social philosopher who Sijo Bruce Lee studied.  In his 1955 seminal work, The Passionate State of Mind and Other Aphorisms, he said,

"To become different from what we are, we must have some awareness of what we are."

Where in your world are you desiring to become different from what you are?  What do you need to learn about yourself in order to make that happen?

And my friend, if you are ready to take the first step becoming something different alongside a group of people working together to overcome their own greed, anger, and folly as they work for peace, justice, and humanity, reach out to us by going to marylandjeetkunedo.com today.

- JB MuSsang Jaeger



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