Thursday, August 16, 2012

Adversaries to Allies

Have you ever had a person who you perceived was an adversary in some thing?  Not that he was an evil person, but you thought by the way he talked and carried himself “What a jerk”.  Perhaps he even thought the same thing of you.

This happens often during rush hour traffic.

The point is that we only have one chance to make a first impression; sometimes that first impression is lost.  The person we now deal with becomes an adversary.  Perhaps the two personalities of you and the other person are not compatible and that was the source of the friction.  Nonetheless, it can turn into an ugly situation if we allow the carnal nature of “the flesh” to have it’s way.  This is something that has no doubt happened to all of us at one time or another. A missed chance, or a bad perception of both parties leads to an adversarial relationship.  Using simple Christian principles and tenets of the martial arts a situation can be treated with three concepts:

  •         Grace
  •         Character
  •         Opportunity


Grace is Something we all need but don’t deserve. It is something God extends to the entire human race as a way to accept the remedy for sin and our propensity to failure.  But if God extends that grace to us, is it not possible to extend that grace to another person?
There is a story conveyed about the Paradigm Shift, a story in which there is a drastic change of perception from what we would consider the norm.  This was first applied to scientific thinking to break from classical reasoning,  ie the paradigm.

Perhaps the person is doing something that we have done a thousand times before and we’ve done the same thing!
Let’s go back to getting cut off in traffic. It could have been an honest mistake.  Now, have you ever cut someone off in traffic because you almost missed a turn? Maybe it was an honest mistake?


An old adage says “Character is what you are when no one is looking”. This word can be seen in Hebrews 1:3 describing Jesus as the “express image of God” [KJV] The word has the connotation of the die that is used to stamp out a coin; nothing is closer to the original!
The Karate creed at my school states: to Use common sense before self defense and never be abusive or offensive.  Since martial arts are about self control and self improvement, these naturally go together!
Only character will keep us from saying or doing an action we may regret later!


Kairos, Roman copy in relief Opportunity is a strange thing. Something we all look for, but seldom recognize. The opportunity to turn an adversary into an ally can be  elusive and momentary when we realize the person had another problem that affected your first meeting.

I had an adult student that did not like my personality, and put me on the spot in front of the class.  It ended up with my director talking to me and the student later venting to me.  I let him talk, and at the end of the term, we departed with a handshake. During the term I took advantage of small opportunities to give him more time or elaborate on some of the concepts of the class.

There are plenty of times in this life when we will be faced with real problems and use stronger measures, but the paradox of reading for a conflict I never intend to have is often averted by my experiences in the church and in the dojo.

Attribution: Kairos, Opportunity  view this link for the story of opportunity

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