In the world where we celebrate the notorious I find, the actor Tom Selleck’s comments, refreshing, truthful and also expressing some frustration. You see wolves respect power; well most of the animal kingdom does in fact. When we as humans carry that impression over from animal to human niceness is seen as weakness, when in fact that is not true. It is the perception that being nice is a sign of…subservience, of kowtowing, but it is not.
Niceness is the first act of stepping into the role of being human, of engaging humanity, on a human level instead of simply having a human expression of an animal behavior. How does this apply to the martial arts? This way, rank delineates and separates people, when superior ranks use that separation as a means of lording over the lower ranks, well that is not nice, and the higher rank is…well not being a nice person. They are acting out a role of animal existence, a role of alpha male wolves and a very clear internal position that being nice is a sign of weakness – “…a wuss” as Tom Selleck would say.
So if you are with a club, dojo or job for that matter where the superiors believe being, “firm, hard, and heavy-duty” makes them not a wuss, you might want to rethink your participation. That kind of behavior only gets them so far in life, and hitching your wagon to their behavior will eventually limit you as well. Being a nice person, who can defend themselves if need be is a much more pleasant path to walk, and not anything close to being a wuss.