Winning and losing is not competition

Winning and losing is not competition

We have a competitive nature, it forms the basis of our existence, we see competition in all aspects of life. Even in the animal kingdom, some animals have to compete for the alpha male position, and mate with the best female member of the tribe.

Competition helps us not only survive but thrive. When we compete in with a constructive spirit, we develop ourselves, we make things better for others. When we challenge status quo, and succeed, we inspire others to make the impossible, possible. We set a higher standards for ourselves so that others can emulate. Well, that isn’t so bad, when we look at the spirit of competitiveness in a positive manner.

When we add in an element of winning, that changes the entire equation, and puts the ego in charge. You see, life is about competition, winning, and the other poor impostor, losing, isn’t. In life there is no losing, nor winning. There is only the strive to exist, for some to be the best they can be. Which is still fine.

When you pit one human being against another, and determine, who wins and loses. Then that violates the spirit of competitiveness. All human beings are equal, like no other, and because each of us is unique, we can never be better than anyone else other than us. We can only be better than ourselves.

“No one wins, no one loses. We all compete and we all become better.”

To say that there are no competition in Aikido, would have taken things a little bit out of context, there are still some level of competition, but there are also a lot of compassion. We see each of us in Aikido as strugglers. I see my junior belt students struggle, I can understand that and will try to help them the best I can, so that they can be a better person tomorrow, so that they can compete against themselves, and become a better person. The junior belts are not competing against me to win something, and when they get the better of me, I didn’t lose anything, we are all humans and we have slip ups, and to put a win/lose duality into competition, that would have skewed the reality.

This is compassionate competition. We push ourselves to be a person better tomorrow, than the person today. I help them, and they help me, we all help each other compete, and sometimes, we offer an external level of competition, just to help our fellow Aikidoka get out of their own shell, out of their own comfort zone. No one wins, no one loses. We all compete and we all become better.

This is the true meaning and strive of competition, not to win, not to gain medals and look good being a champion. We become our own champion, and held our strife as the ultimate trophy. We struggle, fall down, get up and fall down, this is life’s journey, not to win any thing, just to compete and make ourselves proud of who we are, a race of competitors, striving to make sure we become the best human being ever.

Posted on September 23, 2015

Not so sure

Not so sure

‘Are you sure it works?

There are things which we can be very certain about, the sun will rise and it will set, water will evaporate and life will end and death will always comes for the living. What keeps me going back to Aikido is a feeling of uncertainty. I’m never too sure about the effectiveness of the technique, what works on one might not work on the other.

More importantly, this feeling keeps me grounded and coming back for more. There is never an apex of an Aikido journey. Perhaps this is why there is no championship to talk about in Aikido. a medal is an excellent way for you to focus on your goals, but the practice of Aikido is more than that, it is life. And in life, there is no reward nor punishment, no gold, silver or bronze. Competition is made by man, with rules and a single goal, winning. And when you win, you surely didn’t lose; or did you?

The Champ

When a winner held onto the medal, there is a level of surety, he or she is good at something, so much so the person has beaten others and gotten the gold. If you get silver, you’re pretty sure that there is one guy on top, and many, many more below!

That is a fallacy.

You can never be sure, that the guy on top stays on top, and those below will never be superior to you. If you are a champ in Karate, that doesn’t mean you’re a champ in everything. But winning helps creates that illusion of suety. Truth to be told, in order for one to win, many others have to be sacrificed, our loved ones, parents, events, birthdays, just to name a few. All for a medal? Are you sure that is what life is for you? To miss out on all those important people and event just for a medal?

And just because one becomes a Karate champ, doesn’t surely means one will win in EVERY fight, alley fight, fist fight, bar fight. You can never be too sure, but with a medal, and most likely an inflated ego, you might risk a chance of a fight, thinking that you’re sure to win.

I’m reasonably trained in Aikido, but never too cock sure about what I can do. There is really nothing to win in a fight, that uncertainty, in my personal opinion keeps me focused on not getting into a fight. I leave the class every time, feeling a little inadequate, as if I have not learned enough, and I need to come back, and back and back, to check myself. ‘Are you sure it works?’ I ask that question again and again.

Problem I see in many martial arts school is they train people ‘so well’, they endowed them a false sense of security, feeling that the student can fend themselves off, in a real right, and walk away unscathed. Hollywood are full of those fight scenes. In any UFC fight, we always aim to be the last man standing, look carefully, the last man standing was as badly beaten up as the man on the floor. No one walks away from a  real fight without a scratch, Fighting is about attrition, and in a real fight, we can never be too sure we can come out tops, no matter how well we train.

I can never be too sure, so I come to class never take every moment for granted. I never take a white belt for granted, granted that the white belt might have a lucky shot and break my nose in a flimsy shomen strike. Shit happens.