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Bowley Kenpo Karate » Philosophy » Wisdom of the Dragon

Wisdom of the Dragon

The other day I was swapping stories with a friend of mine, who is about the same age in the mid-30s and also a fan of the martial arts. He told the story of his last, almost confrontation while he was in college years ago. Self-described as a bit of a hot head, he got into a road rage incident with the driver of another car. It began after cutting each other off, a little foul language, some hand gestures, and it escalated to pulling into a parking lot with both guys getting out of their cars. The other guy got out of his vehicle walked up to my buddy, looking up and down, and then said it’s not worth it. I’m about to hurt you and everything that comes after it isn’t worth it, my buddy’s confrontor said. He got back is car and drove away. My buddy just stood there dumbfounded.

Mastery of the Art comes when the tiger is seen, but the dragon prevails.

Mastery of the Art comes when the tiger is seen, but the dragon prevails.

My friend said the encounter has stayed with him his whole life. He’s never seen the guy again, nor had any way of knowing how the confrontation may have turned out. The guy really could have been good enough to whoop up on him.

I shared our Kenpo philosophy of “Mastery of the art comes when the tiger is seen, but the Dragon prevails.” Meaning, even though the Dragon is bigger, stronger, and faster than the tiger, he’s also wiser. He doesn’t need to show off how good he is at martial arts (or any skill really). He already knows and the appreciation of his skills by others is unnecessary. Only in the most critical of situations does the Dragon use his knowledge. So in most scenarios, he makes the wiser choice to just walk away.

My friend and I agreed this is a lesson some people have to experience firsthand before they can truly understand. It’s why there is a stage of progressions on the  journey moving from tiger to Dragon. Humility and quiet confidence are developed along the way. And sometimes it comes at the hands of others. You just have to hope the person who does the humbling can do so in a manner like this story. Imparting the wisdom, without leaving a physical mark on you.

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Sam Bowley
McKinney, TX

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