Defence Against The Self


We had a ‘free’ training night in the sense that sensei let everyone work on whatever they wanted to and he came around helping people individually.  It was an excellent way of learning as it enabled us to practice and get help with what we thought we needed to work on.

Bernie was not a young man, he was what sensei would call an ‘earth’ person, obsessed with the practicality of everything and unable to see the health, skill and art aspects to what we did – and it showed on his face as he watched the younger Aaron working on his kata.

“Wouldn’t work in a fight though would it? Bernie spoke with a sort of arrogant satisfaction.

“Probably not” said Aaron, with a sort of bored exasperation, Bernie’s counsel was clearly not welcome and it was obvious that he was looking for an argument.  The problem was that Aaron’s reluctance to engage was winding Bernie up further.

“I could just plough straight through all those techniques and knock you out.”

“I’m sure you could Bernie, you’re one tough mofo…”  Aaron looked directly into Bernie’s eyes with a sense of ‘you’re not going to leave this so let’s go to the bottom line’.

Luckily sensei had made his way over to them by this time.

“Yamee you two…     time out, what’s this all about?”

“Bernie wants to fight me to show how tough he is..”


“I can’t see the point of training like Aaron does…  he’s living in some sort of fantasy land.


“I can’t see what business my training is of his, if I trained like him – I might become a pain in the backside like him – and I wouldn’t want that.”

Bernie made a move at Aaron and sensei caught his sleeve flashing him a warning look.

“Right Bernie, downstairs in my office.”  Sensei needed to resolve this.

When they arrived at sensei’s office, sensei sat in his office chair but Bernie stood red faced and still angry.

“You shoulda let me give him a wake up call” said Bernie angrily.

“I think it’s you that needs the wake up call” said sensei evenly

“His namby pamby training’s gonna mean that he’s going to get seriously hurt when it counts” Bernie was very agitated.

“Bernie…  calm down…

“I can’t..  I feel so angry…”

“Sit down…”  Bernie sat.  “Now sit straight and put your tongue to the top palette, soften your throat and midline, start your breathing from the lower abdomen.  Sensei placed Bernie’s hands on his lower abdomen to draw the energy down

Bernie started to calm down as he breathed deeper, longer and was able to start ‘draining’ the energy locked in his head.

“I’m sorry sensei” Bernie finally said “it’s just that sometimes these guys really annoy me.”

“And you can’t see why?” asked sensei.

“It’s because they’re living in some kind of la la land..”

“No.  It’s because your energy is stuck in your head and you can’t drain it.  They are just being what they are.  You can’t want everyone else to be like you.  Your idea of ‘reality’ is based on your fear – and as we just witnessed, your anger based in that paranoia is most likely to get you into confrontation.”

“I admit I probably do go over the top, I just so angry….  I wish I didn’t.

“You know how to stop it?”

“No… I wish I did, what we just did certainly helped…”

“What you need to do is to add into your training routine what Aaron was just doing…”

“What that kata?”  Bernie looked like he’d just been hit in the face with a shovel..

“Because Bernie…  sometimes the ‘practicality’ of technique is defending your health and your sanity from yourself!”

“Ahhhh…  so that’s why they say that the biggest enemy you have to fight is the one within…”

“Precisely, you’re more likely to get yourself injured because of your temper and emotions than someone choosing to attack you if you were ‘chilled’” said sensei.

“This brings us back to the trinity of kata and puts the ‘medical’ aspect into perspective..”


“So I should apologise to Aaron for being an idiot?”

“I think that would be appropriate.”

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