Going into the deepest dark

All true heroes are heroes of light. Even if some of them chose darkness to live in, like Batman. Besides, it is one thing to live in the shadows and another to be a dark soul yourself.
Nevertheless, dark heroes (yes, the ones with a dark soul) where never represented in a respectful and dignified manner. They always had to appear sadistic, hysterical, brutal and generally repulsive in many ways.
Of course there was one movie that did change all that, and since then, darkness, found its most unique hero with the coming of Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith, former Jedi Knight.
For once, this was a villain that somehow… you could look up to!
So to speak…
And the movie we talk about could not be any other than “The Empire Strikes Back”. Three things impressed me most when a long time ago I saw that movie for the first time.
One: The absoluteness, determination, plus the unbendable willpower of that hero’s character.
Two: Being glad that I could walk alive and well out of the movie theater, without having being chocked because of a neglect or an incompetence of mine!
And three: Giant posters all over the town of Darth Vader stepping on a planet, his black cape dominating the scene, lightsaber held low in one hand, extending the other in an inviting open palm… you could almost hear the poster say the, classic by now, phrase… “…join me and together we can rule the galaxy…”

This was a figure unlike any other, so far.
This was not a hero that is somehow “split” or with a “different” side, which he would switch on and off. There where no doubts about him, of any kind.

One looks up on a hero in order to get something that he has not. Then he encourages himself to push a bit harder, since he follows someone who is better than him and he tries to reach him.
So, he goes for his hero’s special characteristics and abilities.

And Darth Vader looked like the one hero that there would be no task, as impossible as it could be, that he would not see it through.
There would be only the sound of a terrible mechanical breathing, coming out of the dark along with a flow of Force, and a voice that wouldn’t tolerate any kind of failure…

I am altering the deal
                                                                         pray I don’t alter it any further

Going into the deepest dark part II

All you could hear was the sound of a terrible mechanical breathing, coming from the life support system, along with the feeling of someone hanging by a thread to life.
After the car crash the doctors would not say much anyway, beyond the sad fact that this young man’s organs are about to fail.
But maybe dying would not be the worst of it…
To walk again was out of the question, from the severe injuries on his spine, the left arm was gone at the accident and the fire after the impact with that truck, promised only deformity, pain and agonizing recovery.

There are a thousand ways to be handicapped and only one to be “healthy” and well. Regardless of the cause, the number of handicapped people is amazing and leading countries of this world, science and technology, do a lot in order to make their life livable.
But it can never be enough, it can never be that one thing, being well again.
The world of Martial Arts has many people who are deprived of their 100% of what we call normal ability, but they keep on their practice.
In Martial Arts you practice to become better than yourself, not others, and keeping that in mind, you have the same starting point, handicapped of not!
If you take a, what we call, normal man and one who chooses to run, for example, ten miles in the morning of each day, you wouldn’t expect them to be in the same condition.
Now it is hard to explain the distance in which a fully trained Martial Artist stands, if we make the same kind of comparison.
It is something like, the man who runs ten miles and the one who does nothing, standing both on the same spot!

An untrained person does not know how to stand correctly, sit, walk, fall, breath, move about, use his muscles (not to mention his Ki), concentrate, focus, coordinate with whatever he has in his hands… and this is only the beginning of it, since all the above are only tools that, when combined, lead to ability of technique.
I guess that a Master of his Art has little or no choice than to see “normal” people as… handicapped!
And in fact, for him, they are!

I do not expect people in wheelchairs flooding Dojos in order to practice the Arts, but I almost… demand from those Artists who injured themselves in any way, to get a grip and stick to their practice.
Compassion is a virtue of the trained warrior, but the umbrella with the sign “compassion for the handicapped” is outside the Martial spirit…

Now if I remember correctly Darth Vader is totally mutilated, burned and can’t even breathe on his own. Imagine what he would do to the one, who would extend his sympathy on his condition, or would express his… compassion for him.
There would be only the sound of a terrible mechanical breathing…

(For Alex Zanardi, who lost both legs in car races and still races to this day…)

February 9, 2007