Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ego is alive and well...

Last week Sensei was away for a seminar in Canada, so the "2nd-in-charge" and "3rd-in-charge" were leading practice. Normally, when Sensei is there, they don't offer too many pointers, as this is considering stepping on Sensei's toes a bit, I guess. But last week they had their chance to give me lots of criticism!
I should be glad for this kind of thing. It's a fresh perspective; they'll point out problems and mistakes I'm making - ones that Sensei has either stopped noticing, or has given up on me ever fixing.
But I must confess that it was a blow to my ego, and I felt kind of annoyed. When I make a mistake, and someone calls me on it, my ego springs to life and I have one of a few varieties of inner reactions:
"What? You want to quibble about such a minor point? Okay, it doesn't really matter to me, so I'll do it your way."
"Really? I've been told to do it a different way, but for the sake of placating you, I'll do it your way."
"Huh? I've been making that mistake all this time and nobody's ever told me? Well, now it's ingrained and I probably won't be able to change it..."

I always manage to turn it around so it's not important, or it's the other party who's wrong, or it's somebody else's fault. At least (and I really mean that; this is about the only good thing I can say at this point) ... at least I'm aware of that tendency in myself.
At last week's practice, we were working on koryu. I originally learned a different style of koryu; then didn't touch it for a couple years; then learned a different style; then didn't touch that for years ... all this is just a bunch of excuses to "explain" why I don't know what the hell I'm doing when it comes to koryu.
The whole experience was pretty embarrassing - everything I did was wrong; I'd put my left foot forward, get corrected, and my first reaction was "I could swear I was told to put the other foot forward... so somebody is definitely wrong here..." because I was trying to blame somebody else.
What can I learn from this whole thing? I honestly don't know. That my practice is being hindered by my ego? I already knew that! It's a constant struggle... if I ever succeed in erasing my ego, I'll deserve to be very proud of myself.


Blogger BP said...

Great post, Jeff, many of the comments really resonated with me. Keep up the good work,

Bryan at

4:31 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home