One of the reasons I started martial arts training was my younger brother used to push me around. We had always been sorting out over the years who was the leader and follower. But when one of his friends taught him how to box, it tipped things a little too far in his favor. The next summer I moved away from home to make money for college.
One of my expenses that summer was studying Tae Kwon Do. The parents figured: OK, it gets him out of the house a few times a week and he’s tired when he comes back; the teacher is a nice Korean gentleman; the kid has wanted to do this stuff since he was in 8th grade; the younger brother is 1000 miles away so they cannot beat on each other; what the heck, let him go for it!
I thought I had an open mind. Martial arts were nothing like I expected. And everyone’s experience of it is different.
Toward the end of the summer I had a dream. My younger brother and I were fighting and I was annihilating him. For all the times he’d gotten away with stuff and made sure I was in trouble. For throwing monopoly dice at me and chipping one of my permanent teeth. For being a total jerk. For the time I stuck up for him and talked a kid way bigger than me out of beating him up for being a smart ass. Trying to help him with school work and have him waste my time with jokes. For every rotten thing he’d ever done for me. And I whaled on him. Kick, punch, elbow, knee; everything was landing.
And then about a week later I had another dream. The younger brother was beating the snot out of me. I was moving like I was under water and he was lightning fast. I couldn’t understand it. And blocking was useless. It was not a fun dream but my brother was thoroughly enjoying it. He pounded me pretty senseless.
Later on I realized I had done some pretty mean things to him too. Bossing him around. Not sharing presents our parents had given me on my birthday with him. My failure to understand he was trying to get me to lighten up and not be so deep when teaching stuff; to enjoy rather than philosophize. I also realized that symbolically I had to lose the second fight to maintain balance.