Dragons Who Kick…Tail
Since I’ve recently sent off a novel featuring black belts and have also been teaching the occasional self defense class, I decided this month’s dragon should be one that I associate with martial arts.
I hoped to find one on my black belt uniform, but settled for a dragon tee I used a lot while training. I picked this one partly for the black background. Can you guess the important distinguisher between a black belt’s uniform and an underbelt’s uniform? Aside from the belt, of course. An underbelt has to wear white while upper belts can wear somewhat darker colors (red and blue, but not together) and black belts can wear black. The advantage of wearing black should be obvious to anyone who’s put in sparring time–they don’t show blood. Because, you know, laundering stains is for underbelts, and so is bleeding! lol
If I had the chance to get a black belt all over again, from scratch, it would probably be Brazilian Jujitso, though I’d also take one in Muay Thai and Shorin-ryu Karate. To be perfectly honest…Tae Kwon Do would not be first on my list, although the way we did it, with a good dose of judo, a large helping of karate, and a sampling of anything else with practical self defense application is nothing to sneeze at. Truth is, I’d love to get a belt in most martial arts forms, in addition to pursuing my knighthood in European Martial Arts. What can I say? I’ve never met a martial art that didn’t fascinate.
But what my dragon has come to represent for me is the virtues I try to encourage students to live in my self defense classes–specifically a handful of the virtues taught to the young people of my church. What have virtue and self defense got to do with each other? Well, if you have a sense of your own Self Worth, you don’t hang around with people who are going to turn on you, pass you off to the highest bidder, or stab you in the back. If you understand Choice and Accountability, you won’t deny the probable outcomes of those choices that might sound exciting and fun but also put you in harms way. And if you have Integrity, you are honest with yourself and others–which allows you to truthfully evaluate a person’s influence on you or the level you should trust that person, as well as your own weaknesses and fears. All of these virtues can go a long way toward keeping a young person or adult from those situations and circumstances in which self defense will be necessary. While I also teach a few breakaway moves in my classes and provide information as to dangers the women may be unaware of, I mostly advocate prevention and wise judgement. Not so interesting as flashy moves, but a lot more likely to be useful.
And I guess that’s what my dragon has come to mean to me. He’s older, and of oriental origin. He’s not looking for a fight, though he’s capable of handling one. He doesn’t need to breathe fire because he doesn’t go looking for trouble, but all anyone need do is look him in the eye and they’ll have no doubt of his majestic nature. To me, this epotimizes what true self defense should be all about, and also the core of martial arts.