Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Worn Bibles and Black Belts

While I was unpacking my gear recently, I looked at the condition of my belt.  I have always had a concern over it's use.  This may sound silly, but is it "broken in"?
The ranks of White through about green belt usually go so fast that the belt never gets worn, just creased enough for it to be tied properly.
My mind wandered to a story that was shared with me while I was the member of an aggressively evangelistic church.  The pastor was preaching one morning and talked about how much people read their Bible.  One could tell because the pages were dog-eared or the shiny gold painted gilding was worn from the sides fo the pages.  My friend told me that a new visitor, who behaved in an overtly-religious manner (This is the kind that uses religious and Bible terms with the intent of impressing a person of how spiritual they are) was licking his finger and trying to rub the gold gilding off of the pages.

Silly, isn't it?

But this got me thinking about the three things that are common to both  Karate and Church:

  • Wear
  • Humility
  • Confidence


When I say wear, I speak of the marks of the, if you will, trade.  For the Christian it is his or her Bible.  It is declared to be the Sword of the Spirit and sharper than any two-edged sword.  For the Martial artist, it is the body, but allow me to give a symbol instead: the Belt.  Both should show some signs of use and wear as they are 'essential'  to the trade.  An unused Bible shows a christian not reading and studying.  An un worn belt shows a martial artist that is probably not practicing and training.  Both are symbols that should indicate wear through "Training". and if not, then is that person ready for the trials and tribulations and may and will come?


The bible tells us that before honor is humility, but high and haughty spirits will lead to a fall.  To be confident in the word of God and his plan for your life is intellectually easy to do, but quite another thing when you are in the heat of circumstances.  This requires faith and trust.  sometimes we must wade through bad times and bad decisions that make us stronger, because we lack the perspective of humility.  A martial artist may be faced with events that can lead to an altercation, but is it always wise to "test a technique"?  I talked to a friend who is a part-time bouncer and he made the innuendo "I would rather fight a karate guy than a street fighter".  This was meant to say that a lot of martial arts scuffles in a bar, grill or club are due to pride.  We can also say that the martial artists who lose give the martial arts a bad name, and give the fight loser a needed lesson in humility!  True humility in ones abilities come from within, and not an outward achievement in a fight.  The Chinese general Sun Tsu said best:  "To win without fighting is the Zenith of Power"


So where does confidence come in?  I like my belt, and oh yes, it does show some sign of wear, with creases worn in as well.  new belts are a bit stiff and don't stay tied at first.  Similar to a new bible, with the pages stuck together, and maybe not book marked with our study passages in place yet.  If they are used both often and correctly, we should have confidence in what we know, and also what we don't know.
Be confident in the fact that if we train and study properly, there will be fruits for our labors