Sunday, September 22, 2013

The (Not So) Ronin Way





When I was younger I found myself apart from the "Establishment," now as I grow older and my efforts and organizations are seeing more success I wonder if I have turned into the "Establishment?!"

The name for a few of my organizations, "Ronin Martial Arts Academy, Ronin Krav Maga and Ronin Empowerment Group," all have one name in common; "Ronin." For those of you who are wondering, the word Ronin is a term from ancient feudal Japan meaning a rogue warrior or in other words "a master-less samurai." Being master-less was not looked on as a favorable thing in ancient Japan. However many popular "super hero" type legends also stemmed from these Ronin. Stories such as 47 ronin and 7 samurai (or in America with the western spin we called it the Magnificent Seven), Yojimbo, even the movie "The Last Samurai" starring Tom Cruise tells a tail of the samurai that went a bit rogue. These stories were about how these Ronin although breaking their social norm were fighting for good and justice for all.

This idea of thinking for ones self and not being a puppet of "The Establishment" or beholden to some "master" so to speak, has guided a fair amount of my decisions when I was younger. Even today, I strive to be more authentic to myself and those around me. I have little tolerance for Political Correctness, rather I strive to be respectful to the Universal Life Value and strive for Most Good / Least Harm for everyone. I hate fake people, big organizational dog and pony shows or following someone or thing that went against my ethical perspective.

However, when I was younger I took this "Ronin" theme to extremes when dealing with many people and organizations over the years. Only recently (10 years or so) have I been tempering my Ronin Spirit so to speak. It has been a tough process... And am a long way from mastering it. But, as a result I have learned many things while dealing with people and organizations. This process continues to be an opportunity for personal growth for me, which often is accompanied with a fair amount of growing pains as a result. But I feel that the growing pains are well worth the efforts and challenges.

So as I deal with issues that come up with different organizations and people one of the ways I field these issues are by asking myself these questions before I respond to the situation at hand. Asking these questions help me to be better grounded and also to clarify the situation before I move forward with addressing the situation with the person or group.

I figured this process helps me out and you might find it beneficial as well the next time you run into something or someone that you find disagreeable.
  1. Why am I concerned or why did I find the circumstance offensive?
  2. Do I feel that it was inappropriate? If so how?
  3. Was it disrespectful? If so, how and to whom?
  4. Do I feel that the person (or organization) had malicious intent, was deliberately trying to disrespect, intimidate, harass, or attack a particular group or person?
  5. Do I feel the statement put me in danger in some way or somehow threatened me directly or indirectly?
  6. Could I possibly be overly sensitive about the issue or just the opposite, am I being insensitive?
I didn't find these questions over night nor do I remember consciously asking myself them until I recently had some issues with people posting comments on facebook that others felt inappropriate and as I was called in to moderate I had to better articulate my process on how I came to the conclusions I came to. Once I started thinking about the subject I began to realize I did think about some specific things and the list I shared (in this blog post) is what I realized I asked myself about the situation.

I hope you find this process (and the questions) helpful to you as well.

Keep going,
~Craig

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