Nothing to Prove

(post written by Shihan Marsh)

Being “tough” isn’t about showing off.  In fact, in almost all our youth classes we remind students to “keep the treasure in a pocket”, meaning they should not brag about being a student of the martial arts.  

Once, years ago, after a respected Master came to Nashua for a self-defense seminar, the instructors went out to dinner.  On the way in through the door, a man coming out bumped into the master. The man was clearly out of line, and did not apologize.  One of the younger instructors turned to demand that the man apologize. The master gently told the younger instructor not to worry.  The instructor didn’t understand “But you are one of the toughest karate masters in the country, and he was rude!” he said.

The master smiled before replying, “The incident is over.  I don’t know his story. He could be distracted, or he could have just lost his job, I don’t know.  Either way, I don’t need to prove myself. I know who I am, and I know what I can do. Karate is only when there are no other options.  I have plenty of options now, so it is not time for karate.”

The younger instructor thought about it.  The master was extremely tough. He didn’t need to prove it.  Toughness is about being who you are and not about telling or showing people anything.

Jeff Maistrosky