Yes, martial arts are supposed to be about self defense or combat.
Injure, maim, and take out the threat.
But there’s a difference between training and applying the arts in real life.
One of the aspects of martial arts where people struggle with is their ego and their desire to win.
This is rampant in the martial arts and I too struggle with the desire to win or beat my opponent and the part of my ego that clings to those things.
You want to win. You want to see your hours of training lead to a submission by choking or armbar.
It helps to measure the progress with some other than a changing color on a belt.
The problem with all this desire to win is that it can really bring out the worst in people.
From the huge guy who uses all his strength and size against people a hundred pounds lighter than him.
To the little guy who in a friendly training environment only uses pain compliance moves against a more experienced training partner who is letting them work a technical solution out a problem and not going that hard.
The path is hard one to walk. The ego – whether emerging through desire to win or disappointment in failure – sits on either side, ready to shoving you off stumbling.
It’s a challenge being the one who is trying to be kind to a training partner, and giving them the space to learn and get better, and they return the favor by grinding an elbow in your thigh and shoving their first in your throat for five minutes.
But I guess even that can be exercise in exploring the ego.