Last night during karate class, I shared this with my students; quite a few were missing, so I’m sharing it here too.
Have you ever been to a zoo, or sat and watched documentaries on ‘Animal Planet’ on television? You’ll notice that the primates are really active most of the time, and if one monkey, chimp, or gorilla gets to close to the other, that primate makes a show, stands up, shrieks, thumps his chest, etc. in an effort to warn the others and to show his strength.
Tigers, however, appear relaxed, calm, and almost lazy in comparison. They walk around, or lie down and take a nap, they mingle with one another, and they may bare their teeth and snarl a warning now and then.
BUT, when a tiger shows his claws, it’s over. The tiger means business, and its the point of no return; when the claws come out, ripped flesh, blood, broken bones, serious injury or death almost certainly follows in a flash. Then, it’s back to life as normal. When the threat is gone, the tiger immediately hides his claws and ferocity. The humility and majesty of this animal’s natural power returns.
Genuine martial artists are humble and quiet until it’s time to be fierce. Then, we are fierce, in a flash, with no warning, no chest thumping, no bragging, and no tapout t-shirts. This is one of the seven tenets of Budo, and isn’t (or shouldn’t) be limited to one certain art.
Students, and friends: As a martial artist, always remain humble but confident. Be like the tiger, not the gorilla. The gorilla is constantly thumping his chest to prove how tough he is; The tiger has nothing to prove because he is a tiger.