Ian's son, Mike, provided a wonderful eulogy at Ian's funeral. He is a credit to his father in every way. Given my current interests, a couple of stories his son regaled the mourning masses with came to mind.
Mike told of the time when he held a party at his father's house and some male guests were throwing bottles at the wall of the house. Ian approached the lads and explained that he hoped that they had had a good time at the party but if they continued with their current actions, damage would ensue on their bodies. The lads decided that discretion was the better part of valor.
Mike also told of the time when his father stopped when being tailgated by some lads. Three lads got out of the car and approached Ian. Without Ian saying a word, the lads decided that discretion was the better part of valor.
How did Ian influence these testosterone fueled, societal motivated aggressive males who outnumbered this older man on each occasion?
Appraisal theory tells us that emotions (and subsequent behaviours) are evoked based on an unconscious, or conscious, assessment of our resources and abilities to deal with a threat. If we assess that our resources and abilities are sufficient to deal with a threat then we are confident and a particular emotion is evoked which is accompanied by a particular behaviour.
Was Ian confident in his resources and abilities to deal with the threat? In my unprofessional opinion, I would say that that was not a consideration.
I suspect that Ian had a resolve. A steely resolve. If this 'thing' was going to happen then he would engage in the process. There would have been no thought of outcome. He didn't weigh, consciously or unconsciously, whether or not he would prevail.
Confidence is a tricky thing. When you compare your resources and abilities to a threat, if the former outweighs the latter, you are confident which influences your actions. If your assessment falls short, you lack confidence and your actions reflect that lack of confidence. During a violent encounter, there is a constant reappraisal of your resources and abilities versus the threat. A steely resolve does not engage in that appraisal process.
There is another senior instructor at the school that was the Jan de Jong Self Defence School. He emphasises the 'warrior spirit' in both word and action. He is very proficient, physically strong and fast, and very aggressive. Who would I prefer to engage with, Ian or the unnamed senior instructor? The latter. Every day of the week. Why? Because I had a chance of defeating the unnamed senior instructor psychologically. That opportunity did not exist with Ian. Ian had a resolve. He didn't think about winning or losing, and therefore did not weigh resources and abilities against threats. He was going to engage to the best of his abilities, if he had to, and that was the end of the assessment process.
I believe this is the lesson you want to instill in your students. Forget confidence. Forget bravado. It's simply a steely resolve. Not to win or lose, but simply to engage with all of your resources and abilities. Let the outcome take care of itself.
... Interestingly enough, writing this post and reflecting on Ian's lesson is giving me the resolve to deal with a very intimidating issue that is currently having a major impact on my life. Thanks Lloydo. You continue to help me.
Friday, August 24, 2012
Friday, August 3, 2012
Through many peoples and many seas have I travelledI prefer the modern translation of ave atque vale: I salute you ... and goodbye.
to thee, brother, and these wretched rites of death
I bring a last gift but can speak only to ashes
Since Fortune has taken you from me
Poor brother! stolen you away from me
leaving me only ancient custom to honour you
as it has been from generation to generation
Take from my hands these sad gifts covered in tears
Now and forever, brother, Hail and farewell (ave atque vale).
Ian first stepped onto the mats of the Jan de Jong Self Defence School in 1965.
He was the third longest serving member of the school. He is only preceded by Hans de Jong (officially 1955) and Paul Connolly (1964).
Ian was one of the first jujutska to be awarded shodan by Shihan Jan de Jong in 1982. He was a very proficient jujutsu practitioner, but that proficiency pales into insignificance when you consider the man.
Ian holds the record, by far, for teaching the same class. He commenced teaching the Wednesday night class in 1979 and continued to do so until the restructuring of the school after Jan de Jong's passing in 2003. The third Wednesday in April, 1983 was my first class of jujutsu, and I was privileged to attend Ian's class for many years.
'I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university' - Albert Einstein. Einstein may as well as have been speaking for Ian. Ian treated one and all, young and old, male and female, from all walks of life in the same manner. Always, always with respect.
'Respect' is a word that is often bandied around these days. It is often demanded but the simple rule expressed by R.G. Risch seems to have been lost by many: 'Respect is a two-way street, if you want to get it, you've got to give it.' Ian gave respect to one and all with no expectation of anything in return. You didn't have to earn Ian's respect, it was freely given. All you could do was lose it through your own demerit. And even then, Ian wouldn't hold it against you.
'Being humble means recognising that we are not on earth to see how important we can become, but to see how much difference we can make in the lives of others' - G.B. Hinckley. By definition, Ian was humble. He didn’t teach to gain status or to impress anyone. His teaching was not driven by ego. He didn’t teach for financial reward. He taught because he enjoyed it. He taught for his students, for his love of the art, and for his deep and abiding friendship with Jan de Jong.
Ian asked those he met to just walk beside him and be his friend. Many accepted that invitation. 'Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by smiles, not tears' - John Lennon. In this case, Ian was far older than his 66 years and the calculation of his life reaches towards infinity.
Ian, ave atque vale, I salute you ... and goodbye.