Friday, September 21, 2012

Who Am I?

I am not Spock...

          Given that you are reading this blog, you have at least enough technical knowledge to access the internet, so I'm going to assume that you probably have at least some inkling of who Spock is.  If not, feel free to refresh your education on this matter here.  Spock, while fictional, is someone to whom I have been compared on more than one occasion.   While other kids in high school were being voted most likely to succeed, or most likely to become famous, I pretty sure I was being labeled as most likely to become First Officer on the Starship Enterprise, and no, I'm not referring to this guy.  Many people view me as stoic, or analytical, and some even may say cold.  The truth is, while I may present myself this way professionally, these words really don't define me.  The truth is, I'm just quiet, and perhaps a bit shy.            I've never felt the need to fill up perfectly good silence with the sound of my own voice, and I don't particularly enjoy it when other people do.  In my own time, I prefer to be alone more often than not.  This isn't because I don't like people, nor that I in any way feel superior to others.  I simply enjoy solitude.  At some point this trait has, understandably perhaps, been misinterpreted, and I have been mislabeled and wrongly identified as being very Spock-like.
          In actuality, I'm simply not that guy. Spock, above all, was devoted to one guiding principal, and prized one thing above all: logic. Ask anyone who knows me well, and they'll tell you: logic has never been my guide. It's not logical to choose your college destination based solely on which one offers you the best martial arts training opportunity. Choosing to take that a step further and abandoning a relatively stable and promising career in the software development industry in order to become a martial arts instructor is definitely not something Spock would do.  In fact, I think he would strongly disapprove.  I am not Spock.  I'd have to say that every major decision I've made in my life has been guided by emotion, not logic.  I teach martial arts because I have  visceral, emotional connection to Tang Soo Do.  So...I'm not Spock - Who am I?
          Before answering that, let me explain that I've recently watched the entirety of the television series "Heroes".  You know, that show everyone fell in love with back in 2006, then promptly forgot about after the first season?  Well, I finally got around to watching the whole series, and I realized, over time, that the show wasn't really about the so-called "heroes" at all.  We don't relate to heroes all that well.  Even when they're flawed, we know that nine times out of ten they'll overcome that flaw.  We can't relate to the perfect.  We are drawn to the imperfect; to the antihero.  Upon reflection on this concept, I came to realize something.

I am Sylar.  

          Well, you know, minus the whole psychotic serial killer thing.  Sylar was the "villain" of the series, but in the end he sought only redemption from his past mistakes.  In this way, I think we're all a little bit like Sylar, and this is why I can relate to him, but it isn't really why I say I am Sylar.
          Sylar possessed only one "super power" that was truly his own: he was able to see how things worked.  I won't go into the gory details, but let's just say he was quite literally able to get into the heads of others in order to see what "made them tick."  In so doing,  Sylar was able to appropriate the powers and abilities of others, using them as if they were his own.  It occurs to me that this is something I've been trying to do for several years now.
          Ask yourself some questions: When you attend a particular class or seminar, what do you do?  What  do you try to get out of it?  What is your role?   As a student, you may say that it is your job pay attention and learn.  You'd be correct.  What is it that you are trying to learn, though?  To what, specifically, are you paying attention?  Most would answer the material being presented is what they should try to learn.  Again, this is a correct answer, but not a complete one.
          As an instructor, I want to not only get a feel for and a grasp of the presented material, but also for how that said material is being presented.  I don't just want to be able to do want is being presented; I want to be able to teach it.  To me, being able to acquire the skill itself is not enough.  I want to decipher the methodologies, language, and even the motivations of the instructor.  In essence, I want to get into the instructor's head and steal his or her powers.
          To some, this may seem a bit "overly ambitious", and I'd be lying if I said I always succeed.  As the saying goes, though, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."  I will often attend the same seminar multiple times until I feel that I've uncovered at least the basic concepts of how it works; until I feel some ability to pass these skills on to others.  
          In the end, it is far, far easier to do a thing than it is to teach that thing to another.  However, once it has been successfully taught, it resides within more than one mind, and it will be that much easier to access in the future.  Should I lose my grasp on a particular idea or skill, I can now delve into the minds of others in order to get it back.  After all, I am not Spock...I am Sylar.  Although, considering both were played quite admirably by the same guy...perhaps I'm Spock as well.

Kick. Punch.  Easy Stuff.