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Sportsmanship – The Art of Integrity

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 vast world of MMA and combat fighting sports, ego and arrogance have become subtly blinding to many athletes as they strive to be the next Champion. What very few fighters are born with is natural integrity and karmic understanding of proper energy exchange. In the pursuit to be the best many forget to look at themselves and analyze their actions as they speak, and compete in front of fans, family and friends. This process is painful and revealing and must be done by an individual with strong will and drive to respect themselves, their opponents and the very sport that they compete in.

All too often I see the person I used to be in many young and seasoned MMA veterans. The person I used to be was very into showmanship and even though I said I would never do so, I even got consumed in mouthy and ego-driven fight interviews where after everything was said and done I looked and sounded like a fool embarrassing only myself. Luckily I learn the lesson quickly and changed my persona and demeanor in response to making myself look contradictory to the individual I am on the inside…someone who is spiritually evolved and knows self.

The false bravado and ego-driven world of MMA are understood because of the fierce competitiveness but I know personally that one can be classy, calm and confident in response to ignorance, attitude, and egocentrisms. As a fighter, I feel much better about myself when I express myself honestly…not lying to myself about who I think I am or how I will portray myself in the eyes of my peers, fans and press media. This is a true test to release the attitude, dissolve the ego and remain humbly aware in the cage of humility.

Fans are attracted to fighters with a positive and powerful presence and those very fans respect and appreciate the charismatic and unique ways of such a champion. The bad guy role is played well by some fighters and has made them appealing in media eyes based on the simple fact that they are attracting negative attention…but any attention is better than none in the minds of the disillusioned. I'm pretty sure that Tito Ortiz was more than popular because of his bad guy persona but feel empty knowing that it's not really who he is. In the same way, I can see Josh Koscheck's almost saddened demeanor after his split decision win over Mike Pierce at UFC 143. Josh was humbled by the fact that he did not handle Mike Pierce like he thought he would and that in all reality he lost that fight in many people's eyes. May it open his mind and force him to change the way he looks at himself and his MMA character. Getting booed and hated by every full stadium regardless of state or country cant be a good feeling at the end of the day.

As I write these words I feel compelled to reiterate that I was at a young age full of anger and aggression and intimidated people without knowing it. As I look at myself now I feel the ancient masters and teachers transmitting the wise traditional truths from sages living ages ago. Sometimes the best thing to say is nothing and I know from experience that the toughest fighter in the room is not the one yelling and talking about how tough he is. A true martial master boasts not nor acts in ways that conflict with the selfless teachings of ancients before him. A true martial master believes in humble integrity and honorable intentions. A true martial master studies and knows ways of healing, light, and love in the balance of fire, fighting and defense.

In conclusion, Nick Diaz, who labeled himself the best fighter in the world lost a split decision to Carlos Condit at UFC 143. Both fighters were there to fight but Carlos came to compete and won by conditions of rules, points and tallied techniques. Despite Diaz's last-minute takedown he didn't do enough to win in the eyes of judges as well as millions of people. I too have lost a split decision battle where takedowns and cage control were counted more than submission attempts and striking connections. But as a competitor, I know that in the judges' eyes it may differ from what I see and feel concerning the last call. Yet the way that Diaz immaturely acted and how fast his insecure ego created excuses was very disappointing for me to watch. If he wishes to quit now and retire despite his amazing potential then indeed the doubters win and indeed the fans will remember him as "one" of the best ever but never will they remember him as "the best MMA fighter of all time." For to have that label one must have the attitude, abilities, and discipline to live that label with a humble heart filled with unconditional humility.

Thank you for your time to read The Dragon Tao Chronicles.

- Brian Seraiah Wood 10/01/13

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