Anger Isn’t JUST For The Sith…

The title is a Star Wars reference, for my followers who don’t find themselves quite as immersed as I am in science fiction and reading. To frame the reference, the Sith are the antagonists of the Star Wars series. They are the polar opposites (in most respects) to the Jedi and typically use intense emotion and anger as a means of amplifying their powers. The series focuses on the Jedi being the good guys and how anger is a bad thing…. Although I agree that HATE is a bad thing, as is also premised in the series, anger has its place and can even be a useful tool when applied in the proper context.

Let’s start by examining what anger truly is…. Simply defined, it means having strong, intense feelings of annoyance or hostility towards a person or thing that can often result in a violent or negatively-emotional response. This can be caused by something emotionally significant or perhaps something as simple as being cut off in traffic. That aspect that many people tend to lose sight of, is that a feeling of anger isn’t always necessarily related to the immediate instance that we believe prompted the emotion and may be a symptom of something bigger and/or previous. The immediate moment may simply be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back. But I digress…

Anger is an emotion. An normal emotion that everyone experiences throughout the course of their lives. If you’ve ever heard someone say, “I don’t get angry” they’re either lying to you or themselves. Maybe they feel anger but simply have coping mechanisms that allow them to keep from externalizing it. That may be a good thing. It can also be a recipe for disaster, depending on one’s specific ability to handle their anger.

Anger can be a great motivator, especially in fitness circles or in making and accomplishing one’s goals. If you use your anger as a source of fuel, it can help push you beyond what you might have done, otherwise. A good example I can provide is when one is using a punching bag. There’s no arguing the fact that you’ll punch harder and longer on the bag if you’re absolutely fuming about something. This is kind of the scenario I’m referring to.

The other side of the coin is dealing with a level of anger that can result in a violent result. This is something that must avoided, fo the obvious reasons. The punching bag is another great example as it can be a fantastic outlet for venting that angry energy. Meditation can work for some, but i know people who hit that “point of no return” and simply lack the means to control their anger. And that’s an important aspect to discern; the difference between controlling and finding an outlet for one’s anger or trying to suppress it or ignore it. The former can be constructive and healthy. The latter eventually becomes a problem. ☯️

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Shawn

I am a practitioner of the martial arts and student of the Buddhist faith. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic since I was 4 years old and have been fighting the uphill battle it includes ever since. I enjoy fitness and health and looking for new ways to improve both, as well as examining the many questions of life. Although I have no formal medical training, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge regarding health, Diabetes, martial arts as well as Buddhism and philosophy. My goal is to share this information with the world, and perhaps provide some sarcastic humour along the way. Welcome!

2 thoughts on “Anger Isn’t JUST For The Sith…”

  1. This is one I meant to get back to earlier, but I had to think about how to reply. It’s not the first article I’ve seen lately with similar thoughts.

    The trouble with anger, even for something like that punching bag, is that it’s a drug. The more you rely on it, the more you need. It can become a crutch that causes clouded thinking, and as Yoda put it; anger leads to aggression, and aggression leads to suffering.

    There ARE kudalini-like techniques for elevating the energy of negative emotions like anger, and using that energy as something even more powerful. IMO, that’s the way to go. Instead of being the raging demon like Akuma, you become that freaky master who calmly deflects a storm and destroys an opponent with a few precision moves (just to put it in martial arts terms).

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    1. Interesting perspective, to be sure. I agree that anger can lead to suffering, which is why I’ve always adopted a personal policy of never letting it fester. I like the Jedi’s perspective on matters to an extent because they often reflect a very Zen-like way of existing. If we can agree that all things are energy with emotions being no exception, then we accept that energy necessarily never ceases to exist; it simply transforms. Therefore, transforming one’s anger into something useful, productive and positive can be an effective training tool. If one does it right. And to some extent, this is similar to what you are describing.

      I understand your take on how it could potentially become like a drug. Much like any other drug, if your anger puts you in a position where you believe you’re stronger, faster and more efficient when you train, there’s certainly an allure to using that anger on a more constant basis. The trick is to recognize that you’re using it simply enough to transform it into something better. In the case of the punching bag, the bag is a conduit through which to transform one’s anger. The anger is a means through which, for just a brief moment, to train harder. So long as you can frame your thinking along these lines, you won’t fall prey to depending on it or, as Yoda would likely say, “Fall victim to the Dark Side…”. Thoughts?

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