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Thread: Humility?

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    Bob Hubbard's Avatar
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    Default Humility?

    Originally posted at MartialTalk
    Humility?

    What place does humility have in the maturation of a martial artist?

    I often see this word "Humility" listed as a desired trait or goal for an actively training martial artist to aspire to. The reality on these forums seems to indicate a growing failing in modern training to develop this desired trait however.

    The dictionary definition “1. The state or quality of being humble; freedom from pride and arrogance; lowliness of mind; a modest estimate of one's own worth; a sense of one's own unworthiness through imperfection and sinfulness; self-abasement; humbleness.” seems to be sorely lacking in the discussions of many high ranks.

    Why is this?

    Surely, men and women with the decades of focused training, meditation and experience could have reached this level. The old masters did. Is this a growing problem world wide, or just an American problem?

    I have seen supposed traditionally trained and respected martial artists engaged in activities unfitting martial artists of their stature. I have seen petty bickering over the increasing of rank levels for dead masters, simply so that they themselves can add additional stripes to their belts. I have seen childish bickering over the words of a dead man, who only wanted his art to flourish after his passing, and the resultant chaos as ego and posturing destroyed friendships, relationships, lives and organizations.

    Why?

    Have we forgotten the lessons of our teachers so soon?

    Nasakenai.
    It is all, and it is none.

    It is a conclusion I have reached after reading many sections of not only this talk forum, but of others.

    I read the new magazine from this site, the article "Legacies" in particular stood out to me. The followers of Lee have argued and fought for years, as have the followers of Parker over everything and nothing. I see the same with the followers of Presas. As more of the old masters leave us, it seems that they take the humility with them.

    I hold no anger towards these 'warriors of words'. In fact, I pity them, for they have missed one of the oldest and deepest lessons found within all of the arts.

    After the ego has perished,
    the true self rises from its dust


    "Ego" is often used to describe the tendency to inflate your self-image, and it is often linked to greed. It is not just to be ambitious, but to be "overambitious". It implies that you love yourself so much that you would try to realize your ambitions to the detriment of others.

    To serve your ego is
    to worship a false identity
    created by yourself.
    It is like someone suffering from amnesia
    reinventing herself because
    she has forgotten
    who she is.


    Ego and humility are too often, mutually exclusive. Too often I see people who are supposed learned martial artists, arguing over such minutia that one questions if they ever truly listened with their hearts.

    They have lost the way. Or, perhaps they never truly had it?

    Zan’nen
    What is your take on humility?
    For ANY and ALL KenpoTalk issues, please use theContact Us link here or at page bottom right. Do NOT PM me for site support.

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    Rickg is offline
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    Default Re: Humility?

    I think if you meditate and look at the larger picture of all of creation then to take oneself to seriously is pretty hard to do. I really do not practice any formal religion but I do meditate like my instructor taught me. I am not the greatest martial artist. All I have to do is pratice with my instructor to see that I probably will have a hard time getting to his level in this life. I am 51 years old not that much time. Or spar with a twenty seven year old who has practice an art longer than me by 10 years. Even my old street senses cannot get past their athletic ability. So maybe it comes with age. As far as people struggling to aquire a system or style mybe be more than they bargined for if they get such a title as a head of a system. Not something I aspire to. Yet I to battle with ego and wanting to be more than I am sometimes. This is a human struggle not just a martial art one.
    Any how after reading this I can say I have achieved a certain level of rambling philosiphy. LOL
    Old quote. Never take yourself to seriously no one else does.

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    Default false humility should be avoided at all costs

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Hubbard View Post
    What is your take on humility?
    I trained with a spiritual master many years ago. And he told me I must be humble.

    I looked him in the eye and I said, "why, your NOT. You brag about the twelve languages you can speak. You talk about how you can help people. You are not humble".

    He then grinned and said, "excuse me Doc, 'false humility' is what he was talking about.

    If you can do what you say you can do, you do NOT need to lie about it, but to use it to help others with AFTER you help yourself first.

    His name was Jack Schwartz.

    He did have some awesome skills.

    Dr. John M. La Tourrette

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    Default Re: Humility?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rickg View Post
    I think if you meditate and look at the larger picture of all of creation then to take oneself to seriously is pretty hard to do. I really do not practice any formal religion but I do meditate like my instructor taught me.
    I did TM back in 1970.

    And I did it twice a day as requested.

    Then I started noticing some of my friends that had been doing "mantra, mantra, mantra" for months longer than I'd been doing it.

    They were all turning into passive nerds.

    Those who used to love sparring were no longer sparring. Competition was no longer valid to him.

    One who was a senior majoring in business in college, dropped out of college, because in the BIG sceem of things college was no longer important.

    So I quit it cold.

    I like "getting shxt done".

    So I focused on other methods, better methods for me, for mind development.

    Dr. John M. La Tourrette

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    maruchan is offline
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    Default Re: Humility?

    What is your take on humility?
    To me it has a lot to do with how teachable we are. Outside of the martial arts I work as an instructor, and here's what I've seen:

    1. Some people think that if you want to be humble, you need to demonstrate outward weakness somehow

    1a. Some people think that humility means you have to believe whatever people tell you that you are

    2. Because they believe #1 above, some people cringe and think that they need to go all out in the opposite direction. This is a trap and just leads to pride: seeing interpersonal relationships as a comparison game.

    3. It seems like it's easier to shun humility in the Martial Arts, because we're working with our most primal tools. We have every excuse to behave like animals - after all, we can always argue that we are only learning to defend ourselves from a harsh world.

    In my opinion, that's the point where "MA" stops being an "A."

    I think humility is a good goal. It's not something you can be perfect at, but it sure sets the groundwork for real success.

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    Default Re: Humility?

    I think humility and competence are related.

    If you are a competent person, you are always striving to better yourself. Those who are competent recognize that there is always room for improvement.

    Those who are humble are the same. If you are humble, you can see that there is always something to learn from others.

    If you are humble, you can still recognize and appreciate what you DO know, but also readily recognize that what you know is just the tip of the iceburg and that there is room for growth and new information.

    To deny your own competence is false humility and that's so obvious to others.

    Interesting question.

    --Amy
    The New Kenpo Continuum Book is now accepting submissions for volume 2. Our fabulous, ever-changing website is Sacramento Kenpo Karate.
    I'm a member of the Universal Life Church and the ULC Seminary. I'm also a Sacramento Wedding Minister and Disc Jockey
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    Default Re: Humility?

    Great question and great responses! I think the best in any field can learn from anyone. Humility is a big goal for me (not one i always achieve but...) and a big part in Kenpo and life in general.

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    Default Re: Humility?

    Quote Originally Posted by amylong View Post
    I think humility and competence are related.

    If you are a competent person, you are always striving to better yourself. Those who are competent recognize that there is always room for improvement.

    Those who are humble are the same. If you are humble, you can see that there is always something to learn from others.

    If you are humble, you can still recognize and appreciate what you DO know, but also readily recognize that what you know is just the tip of the iceburg and that there is room for growth and new information.

    To deny your own competence is false humility and that's so obvious to others.

    Interesting question.

    --Amy
    Interesting, your definitions of humble are not mine.

    And I do not like the word "humble" but I did like your definitions.

    I would use the term "self-actualized" instead. Or maybe use the word, "living at cause".

    Dr. John M. La Tourrette

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    Big Don is offline
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    Default Re: Humility?

    Humility is much more attractive than conceit.
    But, then again, I really like the line:
    Don't be humble, you ain't great.
    too...

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    Default Re: Humility?

    Unfortunately, many people who are 'humble' actually just have low self-esteem.

    It's important to be cognizant of the difference.

    Truly humble people know their own worth.

    --Amy
    The New Kenpo Continuum Book is now accepting submissions for volume 2. Our fabulous, ever-changing website is Sacramento Kenpo Karate.
    I'm a member of the Universal Life Church and the ULC Seminary. I'm also a Sacramento Wedding Minister and Disc Jockey
    New Cool (free) kenpo tool bar: http://KenpoKarate.OurToolbar.com/


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    Default Re: Humility?

    Quote Originally Posted by amylong View Post
    Unfortunately, many people who are 'humble' actually just have low self-esteem.

    It's important to be cognizant of the difference.

    Truly humble people know their own worth.

    --Amy
    I broke out laughing at your first paragraph.

    It is right on.

    I do like Edgar Cayce's take on being humble. He considers that word in relation with the Creator.

    Dr. John M. La Tourrette

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    Default Re: Humility?

    I like humility in it's purest context. Christ, being the Son of God, washed the feet of His disciples.

    Humility does not remove you from what you are and those things that you are capable of doing. Rather, it emphasizes the obligations and responsibilities that you have as a result of those things that you are and those things that you are capable of doing.

    Christ was not forced to wash the feet of His disciples...he did it to set the precedence of what I understand to be humility.
    ~Bill Richardson

    Rudeness is the frustrated attempt of a small mind to communicate.

    Forgive everyone everything

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    Default Re: Humility?

    I think if you want a perfect example of competency and Humility it probably would have been the late and great Grandmaster Remy Presas . His passion truly was teaching. You did not have to know him 20 years for him to treat you with dignity and respect. He gave it to you instantly. I saw no vanity in him,
    only his smiling face and the love of teaching.

    I am Most Respectfully,
    Sifuroy

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    Default Re: Humility?

    Quote Originally Posted by sifuroy View Post
    I think if you want a perfect example of competency and Humility it probably would have been the late and great Grandmaster Remy Presas . His passion truly was teaching. You did not have to know him 20 years for him to treat you with dignity and respect. He gave it to you instantly. I saw no vanity in him,
    only his smiling face and the love of teaching.

    I am Most Respectfully,
    Sifuroy
    There are so many who have passed away that I wish I could have know.
    The leasons they taught were way beyond the martial arts. Just to be able to sit and talk with them about life would have been where I would have learned
    the most.

    Thank you Sifu for sharing with me.
    Your Friend
    Brad Marshall SP
    KKFI

    trgodbm@yahoo.com

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    Default Re: Humility?

    Quote Originally Posted by nelson View Post
    Dear
    tj2k,

    Dear Amy,

    I can't accept your relating humiliy to competency. It is certainly true some some highly competent people may be humble. History also tells us that there are highly competent killers that exhibit none of the signs of humility. Sorry, but I can't see the relationship! Can you explain it more?

    Happy New Year to all!

    Nelson Kari
    I'm not Amy but I'll throw in my 0.02

    On a personal level, I used to be a real jerk in my youth (..if you think I'm a jerk now you should have seen me then ) After years of martial study I became more confident and overcame many issues I had regarding my self-esteem. In short, I finally felt that I had nothing to prove.

    For example, I've gotten out of a fight before by agreeing with the drunken jackass that he could indeed kick my butt. He strutted off feeling good about himself. I didn't acutally think that, quite the contrary; I felt very confident that I could have handed him his butt on a silver platter.

    Now, there are those that are indeed very proficient, but display no humility. I'm no psychiatrist, but I would say that they are still dealing with some sort of self-esteem issue. They may feel that they have still more to prove to themselves and/or the world.

    Perhaps there's some other underlying reasons like hate, revenge, or other anger related issue. But, many would argue that vindictive behaviors are confidence or esteem related. So...it's still a self-esteem issue regardless of the hours they've put in on the mat.
    "It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." – Charles A. Beard

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    Default Re: Humility?

    Quote Originally Posted by Celtic_Crippler View Post
    Now, there are those that are indeed very proficient, but display no humility. I'm no psychiatrist, but I would say that they are still dealing with some sort of self-esteem issue. They may feel that they have still more to prove to themselves and/or the world.

    Perhaps there's some other underlying reasons like hate, revenge, or other anger related issue. But, many would argue that vindictive behaviors are confidence or esteem related. So...it's still a self-esteem issue regardless of the hours they've put in on the mat.
    Actually it's not.

    It's a personality profile which is usually handled with the "rules structure" (See Bio-Data Profiling System).

    And when people with self-confidence have conflicting rules structure, then the "other" guy must not be humble.

    Of course, they are both stating it (you are not humble) as they point their finger at the other guy.

    For instance this one fellow violated the rules structure of a certain law enforcement agency in the US so he went to Canada, leaving 2 wifes behind, many unpaid bills, etc...

    ...and he has lots of self-confidence, and is very humble but lacks much in other character traits that I deem mandatory in a friend or acquaintance.

    But he sure appears humble and good to all the people that know him now, but did not know him before.

    Amazing.

    Dr. John M. La Tourrette

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    Default Re: Humility?

    Quote Originally Posted by nelson View Post
    I can't accept your relating humiliy to competency. It is certainly true some some highly competent people may be humble. History also tells us that there are highly competent killers that exhibit none of the signs of humility. Sorry, but I can't see the relationship! Can you explain it more?
    Right upfront let me mention that I am NOT throwing any stones at anyone and I am NOT looking down on anyone.

    What I am doing is defining what people have conflicting definitions on.

    There is NO of humility to competency relationship, but some want to pretend there is because they THEMSELVES APPRECIATE the personality trait they define as "humble". Of course not many have that same definition, but many do have that same personality trait so they do get along and "believe" they have the same definition, values and ethics.

    This is probably due to the fact of some many different definitions to that word.

    To me, "humble meaning 'unpretending' " is one of the better meanings in the dictionary.

    Dr. John M. La Tourrette, the very humble one.
    Ps. I do really appreciate SifuRoy's "respect" salutations. They are NOT humble, they are respectful in the intention of giving your own ideas and still allowing others to have their own ideas.

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    Default Re: Humility?

    Quote Originally Posted by John M. La Tourrette View Post
    Actually it's not.

    It's a personality profile which is usually handled with the "rules structure" (See Bio-Data Profiling System).

    And when people with self-confidence have conflicting rules structure, then the "other" guy must not be humble.

    Of course, they are both stating it (you are not humble) as they point their finger at the other guy.

    For instance this one fellow violated the rules structure of a certain law enforcement agency in the US so he went to Canada, leaving 2 wifes behind, many unpaid bills, etc...

    ...and he has lots of self-confidence, and is very humble but lacks much in other character traits that I deem mandatory in a friend or acquaintance.

    But he sure appears humble and good to all the people that know him now, but did not know him before.

    Amazing.

    Dr. John M. La Tourrette
    So...it's because of their base value system? That would make sense.

    To a certain extent I suppose it would also depend on one's definition of humility. I wonder.....

    Okay, most of the definitions I just looked up on humilty have to do with:
    1. The quality of being humble
    2. Modest opinion, or the estimate of one's own importance or rank
    3. Lack of false pride
    4. See Humble....

    On being Humble:
    1. Not proud or arrogant
    2. Courteously respectful
    3. To make meek
    I'd have to say in regards to this thread, and being a martial artist, that "Courteously respectful" fits the bill....IMHO.
    "It is sobering to reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence." – Charles A. Beard

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    Default Re: Humility?

    Quote Originally Posted by Celtic_Crippler View Post
    So...it's because of their base value system? That would make sense.

    To a certain extent I suppose it would also depend on one's definition of humility. I wonder.....

    Okay, most of the definitions I just looked up on humilty have to do with:
    1. The quality of being humble
    2. Modest opinion, or the estimate of one's own importance or rank
    3. Lack of false pride
    4. See Humble....
    On being Humble:
    1. Not proud or arrogant
    2. Courteously respectful
    3. To make meek
    I'd have to say in regards to this thread, and being a martial artist, that "Courteously respectful" fits the bill....IMHO.
    I agree.

    The SifuRoy phrase, "respectfully"...which can be hard to do when facing certain people.

    So if someone is NOT respectful to you in a manner you believe in, are they showing a lack of humility?

    I just rewatche Terminator II (1991), and I loved the respect Arnold showed the biker when he needed some clothes and a means of transportation.

    Dr. John M. La Tourrette

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    Default Re: Humility?

    The humble man need not say "I am humble".
    Oh my dear Doctor, you have been naive! I am The Master.
    I am The Master, Lord of Time!
    I am The Master, and you, you will obey me.
    Who in the whole galaxy is not my inferior? There is not one creature!

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