This is a guest post from Wild Geese member Jon Mills, it was written on Monday 11th October. Jon never gave this post a title, so I created one for him.
Courage is about standing and facing the things you are afraid of, if thats not a warrior spirit, I don’t know what is.
Over to Jon:
Today (tonight I guess) I’m sitting in my living room having returned from a Eskrima training session in Wild Geese with Paul Cox. Tomorrow morning I will take on an opponent I feel ill prepared to face. I work in student welfare, and tomorrow I’m launching a suicide prevention and support scheme for the 2000+ students under my care. I’m terrified. More so then I have ever felt in a fight, in sparring, or if I’m honest more scared than I’ve probably ever been. But the lessons I’ve learned on the faintly smelly mats in the Wild Geese training hall do not just apply to self defense or sport, but to life in general. I’m terrified because if done well could mean saving one life, and that would make it all worth it. However I feel that if I fail it will be my failure alone and I have to keep reminding myself the only true failure would be not giving this everything that I can. I guess what I’m going to write about here is a fairly abstract concept, spirit, but its something that crops up in martial arts all the time.
Simply put the Wild Geese spirit as I have experienced it is one without compromise, not in what you ask of other people but what you expect from yourself. As a lesson that’s pretty important for martial artists, but if one is to adopt this philosophy they must apply it to everything they do. When you’re bad at something you push to get better, when you’re good at something you help the others around you. You ask the stupid obvious questions and unashamedly admit to your faults without excuse in the sure knowledge that this is the only way to get better and once you’ve mastered something you respect the people who haven’t gotten there yet. Most of all you pursue everything with the unwavering determination of the born fighter, because winning and doing your best are one and the same.
Tomorrow I will stand in front of a room full of people and explain to them my plans to try and make everyone’s life a little better and try to convince them to get involved. I’ll then have to stand in front of a committee and tell them why they should give me the funding to do this and one day I may even have to stand in front of some one and talk them down from killing themselves. I could falter in any one of those situations. That scares me more then all the sticks, knives and psychotic muggers out there and frankly I’d rather fight anyone then have to have that last conversation. In my time training there what Wild Geese has taught me are principles, not necessarily how to deal with a single attack, but how to solve a problem. Sometimes that problem is trying to punch your head in. Sometimes the problem is less straight forward; however the fighting spirit necessary to triumph is the same.
I may be shitting it about tomorrow, but I’ll give it everything anyway. I’m not a warrior, I probably never will be but The Wild Geese have taught me to be a fighter, even if I’m still scared of hitting people.