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My Tough Son Does Not Brag

I have three sons and a daughter who were raised on Arnold movies. Instead of Disney, as little kids they watched Predator, Terminator, Raw Deal, Commando, Aliens, you get the idea.

I'm afraid that this upbringing made my sons pretty cocky. If they were watching Predator or Alien(s), they would say, "I could beat that monster." If my sons watched a show about crocodiles, they would say the same thing. Bears, sharks, you name it, the could beat it.

So when my third son started learning Brazilian Ju Jitsu a couple of years ago, I expected him to be equally full of bravado. My third son is very strong. If my first two sons and I tried to wrestle my third son at the same time, I'm not sure that we could win. When I have "rolled" with him and he just played with me, I had to tap out so quick it was really sick.

Anyway, my third son is pretty cocky and probably still thinks he can beat just about anything. So one day I asked him, what about BJ Penn or George St. Pierre? All of a sudden my son's attitude changed. "Dad, you have to understand that they are professionals. They are in great shape. They would literally kill me."

No bravado. No hype. None.

No matter how much I might prod him, my third son has nothing but the best things to say about MMA professionals. Even when someone loses in a match, even when the guy is beaten badly, my son is careful to tell me that even that guy would destroy him, that the professionals are so skilled, so conditioned, so awesome.

This is a far cry from beating the Predator or Aliens. When it comes to MMA professionals, my son shows respect.

I met an MMA student who trains with a noted teacher. I asked him about this -- why MMA and Ju Jitsu students are generally respectful like this. He said, "it is because we've all been beaten." They all have gone up against skilled opponents and been beaten. They know what it means to be beaten and they know when someone deserves respect.

One of the old Karate Sensei here in Hawaii told me that in the old days, when you had a dojo you had to be willing to accept challenges. If someone showed up and wanted to challenge you, you had to accept. If you could defeat the challenger, you could keep teaching. If you were beaten, then I guess that might be another thing.

This Sensei told me that the good thing about this system was that people generally did not brag. If a person was good, he knew it and so did everyone else. But today, anyone can teach, and without challenges, anyone can brag and say whatever he wants. There is no challenge process to keep people honest.

I think that this is why MMA people are generally respectful, especially of their seniors and professionals.

I am glad that my third son has learned to respect others. Young men his age tend to be full of themselves. He is too, but knows his limits when it comes to MMA professionals. He has nothing but respect for them.

Now about dojo challenges, I am glad that such things are no longer common. I am a peaceful person and if someone wanted to challenge me, I would have to give up. If pressed, I guess that I would have to call the police. I am not a fighter and do not practice and teach Karate to fight, but for self-defense only. I have nothing to prove... I am a grandfather already.

But then if the Predator or an Alien came to the dojo, I think I could beat them... or at least my sons or daughter could!


Charles C. Goodin