You have no doubt heard the phrase: “There is no such thing as a stupid question.” But if you were to be honest with yourself, you will recognize that stupid questions are not a myth. The sad truth is that they are very real. And to make things worse, chances are that you ask, or are asked, a stupid question every day. These questions come in many shapes and sizes. Most are just a simple lapse of brain activity, such as asking what time it is while having direct access to a clock, or asking someone a question that you already know the answer to. These can be easily corrected by simply formulating a complete thought before allowing words to exit your mouth. Other, more serious wastes of time come from questions like asking someone to show you how to do simple tasks that, given a bit more effort, could easily be figured out on your own. These not only make you more and more reliant on others for simple tasks, but also can waste the valuable time of other people.
Some of you are probably wondering what gives me the right to speak so harshly and freely over what seems like a minor offense. The answer is this: I am the absolute worst asker of stupid questions. As I write this, I am writing to myself just as much as to my readers. I will find myself asking someone a question and immediately realizing that I already knew the answer. If I had given it just a second more thought, I wouldn’t have wasted their time AND made myself look dumb in the process. Wasting time is bad enough when I do it to myself, but wasting the time of others is just rude.
As martial artists, we are called to function at a higher level. A huge part of this is learning to be Self-Reliant. In addition to wasting the time of others, relying on them for everything will only allow you to function at a low level. Making decisions on your own, learning to do things for yourself, and thinking before you speak are all key components to becoming dependable and successful in martial arts, and in turn, every area of life.
See you on the mat,