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Be Nice

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One comment I frequently hear is … “Wow. It takes a lot to get you mad. Don’t you have a temper?”

I do. If you really know me, you have probably seen it. That has not always been the case. In my early teens, my temper was pretty out of control. There was a year where I could have gone down a very dark path.

Then, I got involved in martial arts, which further enhanced the groundwork of anger management and other coping skills my parents had already established, but I had been ignoring. The discipline of the martial arts gave me control of my body which gave me more control of my mind.

In the years since, I’ve seen some pretty dark stuff, particularly in my early career. To be clear, nothing as dark as what is seen by combat veterans and many street cops, but far more dark and ugly than the vast majority of my friends and neighbors. More than once, I know life, mine or someone else’s, hung in the balance of the moment.

I am alive today and proud of my work back in the day because I learned to manage my passion and not allow it to be expressed as rage. Note, I did not say “anger”. Anger, properly expressed, is healthy. Rage, unchecked, is pure destruction.

Recently, I was asked for a quick way to explain my philosophy and immediately thought of the scene above from “Roadhouse“, one of the most gloriously cheesy action movies of all time. The film remains a guilty pleasure of mine, but this scene is a nugget of genuine wisdom which sums up the budo ethos very nicely.

For this, David Lee Henry, Hilary Henkin and Patrick Swayze will always have my eternal gratitude.

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