As a teenager, like so many of my generation, I was much impressed by the first of George Lucas’ movie of the Star Wars Series (Episode 4: A New Hope). Besides all the metaphysical super-duper power stuff and beautiful Princess Leia I loved, the possibility of drifting to the Dark Side of The Force made me think a lot.
Could it really be, that after years of studying hard all the techniques of (laser)sword fencing with the good ones, due to a bad character and unlucky circumstances, you eventually change sides and become evil? What consequences does that have for me, as a teacher of martial arts (I once was)? Is there a danger, I show a student how to use the katana (life blade Japanese sword), and he or she will use his skills learned at my Dojo to harm others?
I brought these questions to my former Iaido teacher, and his answer was quite simple:
“We welcome everyone to our Dojo who is willing learn. And especially the bad guys should be given a chance to improve their character!”
So, I understood, no need to fear that after years of working hard with a good teacher, you suddenly will turn evil and use what you have learned against others. A good teacher, and be it a fencing teacher, always offers the chance to get rid of even the worst habits acquired earlier in your life!
Said that, a certain problem (especially in martial arts) might well come through those teachers, who are focussing on technique alone, neglecting all moral and spiritual aspects of their art. They can indeed bring their students to a medium skilled, yet potentially dangerous, technical level.
This is, why I especially welcome the bold and strong want-to-be Samurai from the martial arts clubs to study Zen at my Dojo! There is always a chance to learn something new …
P.S.: My interest in Star Was (and Princess Leia) vanished, after I discovered the blueprint for George Lucas’ movies, namely The Hidden Fortress (隠し砦の三悪人) by Akira Kurosawa (featuring the considerably less cute Princess Yuki Akizuki).