The POWER of SILENCE! A VERY underestimated, undervalued, and even unknown strength that gives an advantage that no other gesture can come close to offering. The power of silence is badly miscalculated because it isn't an aggressive, loud force like the ones modern society has grown accustom to praising as strength. And it is this exact ignorance towards silence that gives power to the one who knows how to initiate it.
I once began the training of a young woman who liked to talk a lot. She was a simple everyday girl without dreams of beating up the world or even bringing harm to another. She was nice, kind, respectful and as friendly as one could sincerely be. Now she wasn't a mouthy person but she sometimes would interrupt the mysterious flow of the martial arts lessons by asking for answers when the answer wasn't yet to be revealed. Even though she meant no harm, at times her questions and statements would agitate some the students who were in the flow of waiting for the answers to "come".
I noticed the effect that her manner was having on the rest of the class towards her, and the effect that her "outbursts" were having on her development as a martial artist so I spoke with her. This is what I said.
"Look. If I'm going to teach you and be your Master Chief Instructor you are going to have to make a deal with me that you will remain silent in class. No more questions. No more statements. Just do as I instruct you and I will lead you to become the baddest woman that you have ever known in your life."
After my words she looked at me in shock as if she couldn't believe my audacity. Then she smiled and extended her hand out to me. "Deal", she responded.
She stuck to her deal and so did I. And like I said, she unknowingly became one of the baddest women that she'd ever met. Her pedigree includes but is not limited to: Muay Thai Competitor; Personal Bodyguard; MMA Instructor; Fight Trainer; Women's Self Defense Instructor; Weapons Expert. She became a totally different person even to the students who once shunned her. They chose to respect and even address her as ma'am or her official title as an instructor without my having to request or order it. Even the adult male students admired her because she no longer spoke with her mouth. She could speak with her FISTS!
Click the picture to go to JAMMA website "About" page. Scroll down to see demo video of this young lady in her development!
This habit of silence instilled so deeply into her character that it became a part of her everyday person. The people that she'd previously known adjusted their behavior to be less aggressive towards her. Her silence humbled and sometimes even dared them. It even made some people nervous. And I'm not talking about just regular people. I'm addressing people who are somebody.
One day she accompanied me to a dinner that I was having with a close friend. This friend was a retired, hard core military vet (if you know what I mean). He'd been around the block in the ranks. He'd tackled just about ever level of bad @$$ery that existed including the ones on the streets sometimes along side me. He'd met this particular student several times at my dojo and a few times when in public at my events so he was familiar with her. The NEW her that is.
Well, during the dinner he broke down and informed me of something that had been on his mind for a while. His words were, "What the #uck man! Who in the hell is she?! Is she FBI, CIA or something?! She's always so got#amn quiet like you have her on a strict discipline! Is she a merc or something that you trained?! One of those #ucking Ninjas?!"
At first I laughed at him but then explained who she "wasn't." She wasn't any type of secret agent even though she could serve as my bodyguard if I needed one when she was with me. She was simply quiet and confident. And witnessing those qualities in a woman were irregular to him, so it shook up this world combat vet. He couldn't get a bead on her because he couldn't tell what she wanted from him, that was, if she even wanted anything from him. She wasn't seeking his approval or attention and this confused him. He felt that she had to be a person of extremely high discipline to behave in this manner that is uncommon in everyday citizens. This empowered the #uck out of her!
When you are silent, you won't give off signs or signals that others can use to "measure you up". People will feel as if they have no power to persuade or intimidate you because they will have no idea of what interests or disturbs you. The things that they do to get a response out of you will be futile causing them embarrassment, confusion, and possible discomfort. They will have no idea of what you may know or be thinking so they eventually will begin to imagine things and this will put them more off balance. As they feel off balance they will notice that you are "doing this to them" somehow. This in turn will make them feel as if you know something that they don't know. They will feel as if you have an advantage of some sort over them that you aren't revealing but may later use. They may even feel powerless and want to surrender to your will. All because you kept your #ucking mouth shut!
Silence is so powerful that a constitutional right has been established that protects us from our government if we choose to "remain silent". When we are silent we become the observer instead of the observed. This means we learn more when silent rather than getting learned about. Silence demonstrates calm and satisfaction. It announces that we want nothing from anyone. This repels connivers and predators who want to position us to "want" from them. Our silence leaves them powerless with the thought in the back of their head that,
"it's the quiet ones that you have to watch out for!"
And THIS, ...is a "way" of the "Warrior's Edge"! -Jermaine Andre'