Thursday, December 06, 2012

Random Thoughts On Not Being Eaten

As a child, I would ask [my father] why he committed so much of his time to the study of martial arts—and why I had to learn. He looked at me and said, “Because I hate violence. I hate it so much and what it can do to innocent people. That’s why I try to learn many answers to how to combat it so people have a chance to survive and live. That is why I want you to learn—because I know I cannot always be there to protect you, so you must learn to protect yourself. All people must learn to protect themselves. This is what drives me to keep learning.”

Diana Inosanto
quoted in Black Belt Magazine
1/13 print edition

Dan Inosanto
at Wikipedia

Last Friday was magazine day for me.

There’s a neighborhood magazine store a couple of miles from here (I mentioned it in Where I Torment, Torture And Traumatize A Teen) and the last Friday of every month they get in their new issues. Ever since I did my post Scraps For Alison With Love And Squalor last year I’ve been cutting back on magazines because I was buying way too many, spending way too much money. Now every month I just buy two, Sky & Telescope and American Cinematographer. Then if there’s something special in another magazine I’ll pick it up, too. This month I also picked up Black Belt because it had an article on Dan Inosanto.

The article was just run-of-the-mill, but I really liked that quote from his daughter. Some people might think that the world of martial arts attracts men and women who enjoy violence or have some kind of fascination with violence. Ridiculous action movies kind of promote that view. But I’ve been very lucky to have met one or two very, very good martial artists and, without exception, the people I’ve met who have achieved extraordinary skill levels all have had an attitude in one way or another similar to Dan Inosanto’s as expressed by his daughter—the notion of a kind of hatred of violence and a desire to defeat it, not a desire to embrace it.

It’s a big difference.

And I think there’s some kind of deeper meaning to the fact that contemporary pop culture and contemporary entertainment almost always embrace violence. And even when contemporary culture presents violence as bad, it is almost always confronted by more violence, violence that’s just more excessive, or somehow magically insurmountable.

That way madness lies. But it seems to be the direction the modern world is heading in.


Monster are so smart.
I mean the real-life monsters.
They’re smart and hungry

and I’ve come to think
they’re something like creative.
Driven by hunger

they’re not creative
but they can pretend to be
because they’re so smart.

Because they’re hungry,
I mean the real-life monsters,
they can make you think

instead of fighting
you’d rather have them eat you.
Monsters are so smart.

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