Self control is very important, especially for 13-year-olds like Emma. Here is what this insightful karate teen had to say about it. (Last time, Emma discussed respect with me.)
J: Emma, will you put Dojo Kun number five into your own words?
E: Yes, if someone is saying mean things and making you mad, don’t just go and hit them; restrain yourself.
J: Does that happen to you often?
E: No, it doesn’t happen a lot. But I have had to use self control in school and sometimes at home too.
J: Let me guess, with your sister?
E: Yes. I use Dojo Kun number five with my sister more than anyone. I do not hit her, no matter how mad she makes me. And I have to use self control with my parents sometimes.
J: I remember doing the same thing.
E: I realized that even speaking is a physical ability. If I don’t agree with my parents, it’s easy to yell at them or say mean things. But instead I try my best to restrain my physical abilities when I’m mad. Like the old Hakugin-do saying.
SELF CONTROL TRADITION OF OKINAWA
J: Would you share that with us?
E: Sure, the saying comes from an old story from Okinawa: The Hakugin-do legend. It is, “When your anger goes out, keep your hand in. When your hand goes out, keep your anger in.”
J: I love that saying.
E: Yes. I have said it to myself when I was angry. And I thought of the samurai using it. It gave me a sense of pride to carry on his example while I used self control. If you want to look up the story, I’ll get you a link. A man tells it in this Youtube video. (Legend starts around 2:13.)
SELF CONTROL IN THE WORLD
J: Do you have anything else to say about self control?
E: The world would be a better place if people would just learn to use self control.
J: How so?
E: Well, first, you wouldn’t have road rage. Or road rage killings. A 17-year-old girl was shot last month before her college orientation because she got into a road rage incident with some guy in his 20’s.
J: Yes, that was sad.
E: If there had been self control that day, she could be going to college right now. But instead, she’s dead. And his life is ruined too.
J: So self control would prevent violence.
E: It would cut it way back for sure!
SOCIABLE SELF CONTROL
J: How else would it help the world be a better place?
E: If more people focused on self control, they would be better in their relationships. Like what I find at home. Since I started trying hard not to yell unintelligibly at my sister when she makes me mad, our disagreements are shorter. We resolve things sooner.
J: So it would help people get along?
E: They would still have arguments, but they would not get out of hand if they used self control. And I think they’d be able to get over things easier like my sister and me.
J: I think you’re right
THE POWER IN SELF CONTROL
E: Self control is a form of self responsibility. It’s also a form of self power. If you learn self restraint, you learn to take responsibility for your own actions. Then you can learn to take your other responsibilities in life seriously. You can learn to do all the things that you should be doing in your life.
J: Wow. You’re right.
E: It can then help you figure out how to branch out and even try new and better things.
J: I never thought of it that way. Any other thoughts on self control?
E: No, that’s about it.
J: Thank you, Emma, for sharing your thoughts on the Dojo Kun.
E: You’re welcome.
By Jenifer Tull-Gauger