DRAGON TAO BLOGS are articles and exploratory writings delving into ancient Eastern systems and techniques that are unique to mind, body and soul practices such as Chinese Qigong, Thai Fon Jeung, Tai Chi, Kung Fu, Yoga, and Meditation. With articles being both educational and instructional the reader will gain insight into these systems and themselves through personal practice.
In the world of Mixed Martial Arts, Fighting and combat sports, there will always be a winner and subsequently a loser. In the pursuit of greatness and perfection, we are all striving to be better than we were yesterday and as we engage in competition there is always the possibility of defeat and or injury. Concerning these matters I hope to express that there many paths to self and understanding self through competition is the best way to cultivate and honor the skills and abilities that the spirit has blessed us with.
In my last article, "Spirituality: The Lost Art in Martial Arts," I express my viewpoint that most athletes are training only the physical aspect of the total package. Many fighters neglect the mental and spiritual side of competition, which enables one to have a clearer awareness of themselves along with the many trivialities of won and loss. No fighter is undefeated forever, and even if his record states so at some time in his career or training he has indeed been knocked down, knocked out or injured while training or as a youth. So one must be wary that as the wins rise so also does the pressure to maintain that record.
All the great legends and heroes of the eras have lost at some time, and those who are labeled the best of all time will one day be surpassed by the next youthful generation. The hope is to be the best and stay on top for as long as possible, but someday there will come the time to retire or quit either forcefully or humbly. In example: where the Gracie family once dominated and astounded the MMA world, now it's rare that they even are recognized as contenders or high-level competitors unless it's strictly GI Jiu-Jitsu in which they are still regarded as respected founders. You can watch Matt Hughes vs. Royce Gracie to see a prime example of how in 10 years one can be both legends and obsolete within the same MMA decade.
We all must accept defeat at some time, and it's the way that one handles such experiences that one either grows or crumbles, one learns or shuts down and or one frees themselves or adds more weight to their already burdened shoulders. What is the purpose of competition for you? If your answer is always, "Smash someone's face or hurt someone badly," then the very thing which your hope for others will someday possibly happen to you. I have learned the hard way that words, energy, and actions will manifest in reality and karma is a real encounter that can be painful or blissful. The outcome is up to you.
The EGO is the most illusionary component of the human design yet some grip so enduringly to this image that they become blinded to the truth about themselves and the world around them. In MMA, everyone is the "best or the baddest" self-proclaimed fighter in the world. It's curious how the very foundation from which most build themselves is the same destructive ego that misleads the spiritual enhancements of such souls. We as humans are always looking for new ways to better ourselves and it's in the face of adversity that ones know who they are at a core level. In defeat, we must learn to look at ourselves from a third-person perspective while analyzing the situation and circumstances that were involved.
So much can dictate the outcome of a fight and the stressors involved can be: food, diet, sleep, personal matters, family, relationships, travel, illness and focus etc. So when we look at the dynamics of competition there is so much more involved than people in the crowd think. And in the event where someone who shouldn't have lost experiences such hardships then the emotional aftermath can be evolving or destructive. If the ego is still intact and has a voice then one will usually direct the negative energy towards others such as refs, coaches or the opponent. The classic "should've, could've, would've" dilemma arises and one focuses on what others did that restricted them from fulfilling the mission.
Only when one releases the ego and with humility and humbleness will the competitor understand the lessons, teachings, and ability to differentiate between positive and negative reinforcing factors. Pride will also be a detriment to cultivation by creating the idea that one deserves or is entitled to win just because he/she fights outs of a certain gym or has certain coaches. All the underdogs are doing is training everyday thinking of new ways to innovate and adapt their style as to one day upset the champion.
A true champion is a humble, honorable and respected by both fans and haters. Attitude and presence are paramount and I have seen myself in the eyes of others and I have seen the errors I have made during my MMA undertakings. By seeing myself, hearing myself and understanding myself through other's perceptions I can create the changes I wish to have in myself. The hardest thing to do for most people is looking inside and really want to change and similarly, in meditation the hardest thing to do is gaze inward searching for answers and divine intuition. I feel at times I will be a much better coach than a competitor and it's my hope to guide the young talent I'm surrounded with to reach a level of performance that I couldn't during my time as a modern-day warrior. Our dreams are what we wish them to be yet even with our highest hopes and desires we still will fall short of our goals, and it is here that we must appreciate the journey God has blessed us to be following at the current time.
No one can fight forever and no legacy will remain untouched. So when the fans forget your name and the crowds no longer cheer just remember the times you once had and the person you have become in the process. My hope is that you are content and happy regardless if you are a World Champion or not. For truly smashing another face in does not make one a good person and it's in the hidden gems of humility that the humble heart beats eternally.
Thank you for your time to read The Dragon Tao Chronicles.
- Brian Seraiah Wood