The Ball or the Sword

Make a fist and stand up for your rights
Image by Robbie Veldwijk via Flickr

We have all been given this choice, the ball or the sword. What does this mean? Most of my students have heard me say, “We learn to fight so we don’t have to fight.” Let me explain.

When some guy cuts us off in traffic we can get upset, maybe have a few choice words for them, or we can say to ourselves, “Boy I’m glad I am not in that big of a hurry.” In other words we could pick up the Sword or play with the ball. Which has less stress, and at the end of the day, which is better for our own wellbeing? The ball, of course.

In day to day life we are confronted with this choice every day, someone bumps into you in the hall at school, ball or sword. A coworker gives you a hard time or blames you for something you didn’t do, ball or sword. Someone calls a wrong number and gives you grief, ball or sword. The ball would be the right choice, but not always the easy one.

When you have the confidence, and the responsibility that goes with it, as a Martial Artist you can pull your sword anytime. That is why it is important to exercise control. We have an ability that most people don’t. We have to be cautious how we use it. We should give anyone the benefit of the doubt, maybe they are having a bad day, maybe we misunderstood, and maybe they need a friend or someone to just talk to. We have to take the time and find out. Don’t jump the gun, don’t pull your sword right away because we know we can anytime.

Should we ever pull our sword? Yes, when you or your family is in danger, you can and should protect those you are close to, but only to the extent of the attack. If someone verbally attacks you it doesn’t call for a kick to the face. If someone pulls a knife on you or your family then yes pull your sword and use it!

Remember the vision of the Ball and the Sword, play with the ball or pull your sword, it is always your choice. Choose like a Martial Artist, we learn to fight, so we don’t have to fight.

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