Dysfunction in the martial arts, dysfunction online, dysfunction anywhere

Thanks to Bob’s great recommendation, I have started to go through some martial arts blogs, particularly wonderful to see some ladies’ blogs very much alive and very much kicking but more on those another time. I will add my blog there soon – I’m just going to do the martial arts tagged posts but if you want the feed now:



So, via the things worth believing in, a very interesting post on Dysfunction in the Martial Arts.

More on that in a minute. Thanks to someone last year who intentionally or unintentionally took advantage of a temporary more fragile state that I was in at the time and did the online equivalent of pulling down my knickers in public, I have spent a lot of time and a lot of energy trying to retain my dignity and work towards pulling things back together. Still I managed to

a) get myself into that situation in the first place and I had sufficient experience to have known better; and
b) reacted by playing victim & martyr – so doubly stupid on both counts !

Of course, its human beings with other human beings, online or offline makes so little difference in the end. I temporarily took on a victim role again earlier this year and with help, moved myself out of it again – that’s not to say that things won’t ever get to me again, but again learning more about myself through studying and practising martial arts, I can make difficult decisions and right now I am happier with myself than I have been in a long time. And I hope one day that the people involved in that situation will see the difference now too.

So am I dysfunctional – possibly, but I seem to be finding a way interacting with other human beings in spite of it ! There’s no doubt at all that when you are learning about conflict, learning about dealing with stress, anger, fear, your emotions are not always going to be in control, but that doesn’t mean that you have to repeatedly act out:

Over the top behavior is easy to spot, what is harder to spot however, is when dysfunction is not so advanced or constantly displayed. A dysfunctional person can seem normal much of the time. But when they do act out, it is these traits manifesting. And, as their disorder is neither blatant  or severe, it will not always be obvious what is really going on. In other words, a seeminglysane person will periodically engage in behavior — that while it appears to be about something else — is based in his/her personality/mood/emotional disorder

If you think about all the different conflicts you have experienced, especially if you have lived with someone or a group of people for a long time, this sounds familiar…however I am not sure we fully understand mental disorders of any kind (in the past one of my friends was diagnosed, undiagnosed, diagnosed and I think undiagnosed again with schizophrenia and her – ‘episodes’ did not seem entirely indicative of her personality but more of the environments she was moving around in. Some other people in my life who have also been diagnosed with other mental – whatever the politically correct term is – disorders – I think we still need to understand a lot more about the brain…(mini rant – if someone is suffering and they are being giving chemicals that alter their brain, how can it possibly be a good idea to put them in the same place as a whole bunch of other people in similar situations, do you really expect them not to start mimic odd behaviour that they observe in others….)

So what to do?

It’s normal to adjust your behavior to try to get along. These are small adjustments that come so easily that we normally don’t even think about them. If, under everyday and minor circumstances, something you do hurts or bothers another person, when informed about it, you stop doing it. It’s just as common that when you find yourself in different circumstances to try to model your behavior to adapt to the new standards — especially when you are there for a purpose.

What if you inform them directly as in you speak to them personally and tell them to stop and they don’t stop? I agree with the post author, this is dysfunctional. It is a different side of behaviour that says your opinion is not important and is completely disrespectful, even more so in a martial arts setting. But disrespectful or otherwise, doesn’t mean that you have to play victim in any way as a result. We are all on different journeys, but being too compassionate does not help. And it is no difference in interacting with others online, if someone is disrespectful either on or offline, the reactions are the same. You will always meet people and encounter situations as human beings, but its not necessary to come up with a list of ready made solutions – everyone can understand more about themselves and take it from there.

The mind

I will continue to explore conflict on this blog but again, there are many more experienced martial arts practitioners who have write wonderfully – another amazing post on Ikaigai on an exploration of the traditional martial arts mind and so, some more of the pieces of the puzzle start to fit together !

A keen, emotionally stable mind requires strong left PFC connections. In order to build those connections, people should engage in activities like meditation. In order to physically survive the rigors of both meditation and life, people also require activities like martial arts training. Include a need for social intelligence and ethical wherewithal and you would need a very complex, yet simple system to bring everything together. It’s my opinion that traditional martial arts training is that system…if we can appreciate it and use it to its fullest capacity.

Urban Samurai has just started a brilliant series on Mind Training for Martial Artists:

In order to reprogram our minds and upgrade our mental software to produce superior results, we must begin by bringing those hidden programs to the surface. Once we know what is operating in the mind we can run some antivirus software, uninstall outdated programs and upgrade where possible. Most of us race to have the latest cell phone and the newest gadget, but why do we keep running obsolete mental software?

Indeed !


BTW I am playing around with blog themes at the moment, however don’t have time to mess with CSS and colours as I would like right now – hope to settle with something – lets say hopefully by early autumn once I have finished looking at SMS again.