Fact or Opinion?

A new year - and training continues. It has been said - by myself as well as others, there are two types of people in the world "trained and untrained" - and naturally, I continue to choose the former. Let me offer another thought, there are also the people who make finer and finer distinctions in the course of observation - ad those who don't. Again, I choose the former.
It is said that Eskimos have hundreds of words to describe 'snow' - I imagine they have words that describe the snow that wafts down gently, and other words that describe driving snow - perhaps even words that descrobe the type of snow that sticks to a huskie's behind - I don't know - but I do know that in their world view, the Eskimo's make many fine distinctions when it comes to talking about snow - so where does that leave us?
Well, one of the first distinctions that students of the martial arts have to make is the distinction between 'fact' and 'opinion'. When an instructor says 'this is so' or 'this is the way it is' , many students simply assume this to be a 'fact' and not (what it most often is) - just an opinion (sometimes a very informed one - sometimes not).
I remember a time in Los Anegeles some 15 years back, I was sitting at a table of well known martial artists - one of these people, during dinner conversation says' yeah, when I hit the chest like this or that - it usually bursts the aorta!" Try as I might, i couldn't help but let out a laugh - 'when I asked him how many aorta's he had personally 'burst' - he replied 'oh none personally, but my instructor has done this many times'.
That single incident, although incredulous, is no isolated incident, I am sure.
When fully grown (supposedly mature) adults begin to spout nonsense like that guy at that table - it is time for us to begin to make distinctions between fact and opinion.
I am the first to admit - the older and more experienced I get - the less I seem to know and the less qualified I seem to be to offer an opinion. But then again, as long as my students just realise, that that's all it is 'often just an opinion' then I can sleep well at night.
Fact or Opionion ? Start asking the question - even if just quietly to yourself ...
JBW

Comments

Popular posts