On Doing Research

Ben Judkins just had my friend Daniel Mroz write a piece on the doing martial arts research, check it out.

My first reaction to the title "Choosing a School: Affinity, Danger and Compliance," is that missing something.  That's because I memorized the Daodejing many years ago.  There is a chapter about the student teacher relationship that I will paraphrase below.

  • The best teacher is like a shadowy presence: Affinity
  • The next best uses kindness and generosity: Compliance
  • After that they resort to threats and fear: Danger
  • And finally they cut you off: literally "Hack" you


A teacher student relationship uses all four, but it is probably the last that is most neglected.  It is a weird sideways jag to think about how a relationship is going to end when it is either just beginning, or is in the middle of an intense bond; but considering the end is both valuable and essential.

I like to think about all my teacher student relationships as life-long.  Yet, if that relationship produces profound change we can expect it to go through some wild reversals.