Anger Without Action

Upon reading a book titled “Zen in the Martial Arts” by Byjoe Hyams, I came across lots of reminders, and refreshing new perspectives which I perhaps had incorporated into my life, yet somehow not in capoeira. Throughout the following weeks an attempt will be made to share some of these with you. The first I’d like to present is one which I myself am guilty of, and see a lot inside capoeira as well as outside.

A few weeks ago playing in the roda I received a nice rasteira and immediately fell to the ground. The first emotion which came up was anger. Every movement thereafter was meshed with anger and the want to hurt my opponent. Nothing else mattered, my game got ugly and absolutely nothing was accomplished by such reactions.

I remember reflecting on this much later and knew I had allowed my emotion to control my game. There was no positive energy running through me, it was only negative I had allowed to come out. Coincidentally enough a couple of weeks later the aforementioned book fell into my lap and the page titled “Anger Without Action” was the first I opened to. Can’t recall whether it was an instinctive act or conscious. Either way a great example was outlined which will now be shared with you.

“One day after a workout, Jim Lau called me aside.  “When you get hit you stiffen, and I sense anger and a desire to strike back,” he said.  I was ashamed.  He had read my reaction all too well. “I know I shouldn’t get angry, but I can’t help it.”  I said.   Jim smiled.   “It’s not bad to have aggressive or hostile thoughts and feelings towards others.  When you acknowledge these feelings you no longer have to pretend to be that which you are not.  You can learn to accept these moods.  What is bad, however, is letting them dictate your nature.  When you unleash your aggression or hostility on another person, it inspires aggression and hostility in return.   The result then is conflict, which all true martial artists try to avoid. Anger doesn’t demand action.   When you act in anger, you lose self-control.”

It’s easy to allow oneself to lose control and react purely on emotion.  It takes a lot more discipline and focus to allow such feelings to simply be acknowledged and allowing them to be released.