Arrogant. Aggressively assertive or presumptuous
Delusion. A false belief or impression.
Confidence. A sense of self-reliance or certainty.
Well the two men took to fighting
And when they pulled them off the floor
Leroy looked like a jigsaw puzzle
With a couple of pieces gone
Jim Croce, Bad Bad Leroy Brown.
Some of you might remember of the 70s hit Bad, Bad Leroy Brown, by the late Jim Croce. The title character is a gangster “the baddest man in whole damn town” (Chicago) where “all the men just call him sir.” One day, however, he antagonizes another man and loses a fight. Leroy Brown (and many others) overestimated just how bad he was.
It is a story often told.
Recently, I watched an Instagram post of a martial artist visiting a martial arts studio. When he arrived, he asked, “Who should I start beating up?” He was matched with a skilled MMA student who easily beat him. It wasn’t even close. Later, when asked what happened he said he had to hold back his deadly skills. Despite being soundly outclassed he clung to the delusion that he was a superior fighter.
We saw examples of this growing up. A teenager with a black belt in karate began bullying one of my brother’s friends at a house party. My brother’s friend fought the karate student. It wasn’t even close.
I do, on occasion, see this arrogant/delusional mindset in the fighting arts community, including Krav Maga. These people achieve a certain rank, even instructor status and develop an inflated sense of their skills. This is often reinforced by students and others in their circles. In most cases, their self-image exceeds their actual ability.
Confidence is different. You want to be confident in your abilities, especially if you train hard to develop them. You need this confidence to go beyond your existing level to improve, to work with people with more experience, to make mistakes that lead to improvement.
Leroy Brown had some skills but when the chips were down his arrogance and his delusion of being the “baddest” didn’t change the outcome. Be confident but keep learning and training with more skilled practitioners and don’t succumb to delusions of grandeur and end up looking like a jigsaw puzzle with a couple of pieces gone.
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