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october 20, 2000

Dear Jet:

Has anyone ever tried to pick a fight with you in real life? If so, how did you handle it? Did you avoid it? Or did you get involved in it? When have you had to use your training to get yourself out of a tough situation?

Ryan Turcotte

Jet's Response:

I myself have never been in a fight in real life, nor do I wish to be in one. When someone comes up to me, threatens me, wants to challenge me - I do whatever is possible to avoid conflict. Because it is never worth it. I never say to myself I'm the best fighter in the world. In this day and age, martial arts is a sport that is popular in competitions and in moviemaking. And as a form of exercise, as an interest and as a means of maintaining or improving one's health, the learning of martial arts can be invaluable.

If someone learns martial arts solely to pick fights on the street, to lean on it as a keystone weapon in conflicts, to use it to bully and intimidate others - then that person, in my opinion, cannot be considered a true martial artist. Sure, he may have mastered the physical aspect of the art - know all the forms to the point of creative second nature. Sure, he may win all the fights, beat up all his opponents, leaving them bleeding, and claim some outside applause. But while physically he may have won - in other respects, he has lost. Badly. For one can never win another person's heart through fighting, through hostile force. The defeated, the one who had to bear the brunt of your physical force will only walk away with a wounded heart, with anger. As a Buddhist, I believe strongly in the concept of karma. What you do will come back to you eventually, as is the universal balance. You can win today, but tomorrow, your choice to use violence will return to you, perhaps in a form ten times stronger.

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