Thoughts on a Charging Bull

Thoughts on a Charging Bull

Justin Nearing
In order to complete gradings in my school of karate, one must submit a written paragraph on specific aspects of karate. One such grading required me to reflect on the story of Bushi Matsumura, the famed karateka who was ordered to literally fight a bull, and won. I liked the story, and decided to reflect on this further.

One cannot defeat a charging bull by being gored.

A bull is an animal that has lived with literal spears attached to their face for its entire lifetime.

Don’t. Get. Gored.

A simple principle to extend your lifetime.

Conditions for getting gored:

1. Be the target of an ire bull.

2. Be in the place the bull is targeting.

That means get the hell out of the way when a bull is charging.

And that can be any bull- a literal bull, some co-workers bullshit, an attacker who’s having a psychotic break, an angry spouse.

Don’t Get Gored.

Now that doesn’t mean don’t engage.

It means get the hell out of the way when that’s what required.

And stay out of the way until you can engage.

Here’s the thing about a bull, you can’t hurt it.

Attempts to fight back will only enrage it further.

But even though you cannot hurt an enraged bull, does not mean you can not defeat an enraged bull.

Rage requires enormous energy.

It’s nature is explosive, a fire needing constant fuel.

If the fuel runs out, the bull gets tired.

Which means you need to keep getting out of the way until the bull gets tired.

Bull always gets tired.

It’s how humans hunted.

Before we even had bows and arrows, when we were a species that only had our bodies to survive.

We’d just run at the deer.

It’d get away, but we’d keep on coming.

It’d get away again, but we just kept charging.

Until it got too tired to run away.

The other option, of course, is to cheat.

If the bull is in the cage, needle it when it sees you.

So that when it sees you in the arena it’s scared.

It might not work, the bull just might become enraged and charge it’s revenge at you.

But it was going to do that anyways.

Apparently that’s what Bushi Matsumura did when the King instructed him to fight a bull.

And you thought your boss threw bullshit at you.

Vegas odds for Matsumura were not good.

But victory and strength are not correlated, unless the participants allow it to be.

Bull against bull, only the strongest survives.

Against a human? Raw strength will not get you far.

Cunning, reputation, luck, and strength- and a thousand other variables to shape the nature of victory.

But victory starts by not getting gored.