Everyone has an ego. One of the lessons to be learned is how to control your ego so it doesn’t bring you trouble.
Many people have the idea that those involved in martial arts have a large ego. If you work hard and become better and better in the martial arts, your ego can get out of control. There are many examples of people who begin thinking they are better than others because of their training and skill in the martial arts.
How does your ego get out of control in the martial arts? Consider this, in many sports the team is everything. If the team succeeds, everyone on it succeeds. You work hard for the team, the team works hard for you. But in the martial arts, the emphasis is on the individual.
This emphasis brings a lot of attention to one person. In this case, all of that attention can dramatically increase your ego and start to make you think you’re better than all others.
What you’re doing in this kind of individual sport is focusing only on yourself. All of your training is just for you. All of the improvement you see is yours and yours alone. You set goals and work to meet them, all for you.
This focus on the individual brings with it an increased feeling of self-sufficiency. The feeling is, ‘I can do it.’ Once goals are reached, this becomes, ‘I did it.’ This brings the kind of increase in your ego that can falsely inflate your perception of your abilities.
There are many issues in martial arts that have their roots in a too large ego. Much of the conflict among the different types of martial arts and the trash-talking that goes on between competing types comes from inflated egos.
Your ego is important, of course, but confidence based on practice, training, and experience is more important. Too often, you as a competitor can step into a fight unprepared because your ego tells you due to past success you will win.
On the other hand, going into the fight with confidence in your hard work will make your success more likely.
Your ego can make you over-estimate your ability to handle yourself in situations where fighting is more than competition. This then leads to a greater potential for mistakes where your safety is concerned.
If your ego gets over-inflated, you may begin thinking you deserve more and better than others in your dojo. All this will do is increase the friction between you and those others and lower the morale of your entire group.
Your ego can push you to the point of not making progress in your training any longer. You can begin thinking you don’t have to practice as hard or train to learn new techniques. This brings you to the point of no longer being competitive. If this happens, it is very hard to re-gain what you have lost.
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