Excerpted from The Master Method: Four Steps to Success, Prosperity and Inner Peace by Master Marco Sies
Growing up, I experienced difficulties and personal conflict that I’ve worked very hard to overcome. Some of these struggles stemmed from negative influences and people who told me I wasn’t good enough…I was inferior…I wasn’t smart…I was too poor, too small, too unattractive to make anything of myself. I was told so many negative things so often, I actually spent many years believing these things were true.
Very small for my age, I was a dark-skinned boy living n a not-yet diversified [Chilean] population where light skin was admired and favored. At school, little girls told me I was ugly, and the boys bullied me relentlessly. I remember being thrown headfirst into a trashcan, and the humiliation of a group of boys whipping me with their neckties and making me run like a horse while they laughed.
By Tim Ferriss, no-holds-barred cage fighter, kick-
boxer-pusher, and the author of the bestselling book The 4-Hour Workweek…
In 1999, sometime after quitting my second unfulfilling job and eating peanut-butter sandwiches for comfort, I won the gold medal at the Chinese Kickboxing National Championships.
It wasn’t because I was good at punching and kicking. God forbid.
Many experienced martial artists believe that, of all the different categories of training partners, absolute beginners are the most dangerous. To outsiders, this sounds like a paradox. Shouldn’t those with the least martial arts training be the least dangerous?
It is not truly a paradox, only a misconception. And not all white belts are dangerous, obviously. But those that are, if only on the mat, are so for the following reasons.
Their goal is always to win. They don’t yet understand the difference between trying to win, and trying to cultivate the skills that one uses to win. Real fights are chaotic affairs, and chaos is not a proper breeding ground for skill development; thus, training in respectable martial arts consists of a series of games, first introducing support structures (e.g. rules and conventions), then dismantling them one step at a time.
The need for, or value in this approach is not obvious–and it is not always explained at the outset. So some white belts never appreciate the context of their practice. Others consider themselves above the “organized despair” of the “traditional mess,” and when a rule stands between them and a sparring victory, they break it without hesitation. The conventions and rules of training, they reason, are “unrealistic in a real fight.”
On his opponents…
Frank Bruno: “How dare these boxers challenge me with their primitive skills? It makes me angry. They’re just as good as dead.”
Tyrell Biggs: “I could have knocked him out in the third round but I wanted to do it slowly, so he would remember this night for a long time.”
Lennox Lewis: “I’m coming for you man. My style is impetuous. My defense is impregnable, and I’m just ferocious. I want your heart. I want to eat his children. Praise be to Allah!”
“It’s ludicrous these mortals even attempt to enter my realm.”
Nobody karate chops me on the street anymore.
Once upon a time, this was the standard response to meeting someone with a martial arts interest: yelp a few times, wave your arms around, do a judo/ninja/karate chop, then hold for applause. But times have changed. People no longer believe televised ninja movies are real. Now they believe televised MMA competitions are real, and nobody uses a karate chop in the UFC. (It’s illegal to strike the trachea, in case you were wondering.)
Don’t get me wrong–I’m not complaining. The classic ninja pantomime has given way to more intelligent comments and questions, such as, “Have you won any tournaments?”
Common sense dictates that the best martial artists are those who win tournaments, while the middling ones participate and lose, and the worst avoid competition altogether. This is only half-true, but the issues are too complex to address during small talk. So, until now, I have answered the question with a simple No, and endured a stigma otherwise reserved for the tea-sipping pajama dancer with delusions of lethality.
Let this be my catharsis. There are perfectly good reasons to abstain from tournament competition, and they deserve an airing. So here we go…