There are many people who say that they can within moments of spending time with another person know what kind of person they are by how they act, what they say, and how they carry themselves. I believe this to be a great skill for anyone to have; not just someone who studies budo. I consider myself to be one of these people and I try to make a fair assessment of each person I meet based on these and other observations. However, I do not claim to always know right away. Some appear to be obvious while others take more time to read and then there are those who have me hoping I am completely wrong. This is why it is so important to not be quick to judge another. You may have miss read them, caught them on a bad day, or perhaps a bad time in their life. Regardless, always give yourself time to prove your own theory. This is how you can truly trust your judgment about another.
It is also important to understand that if you do not know anything of your own character, how can you possibly know anything about that of another? This brings me to my next point. If you claim to be a good judge of character, have you ever put your skills to the true test? Have you ever taken the time to stop, take a long look in the mirror and see what you can tell about the person staring back at you? Can you honestly say, based on how you act, what you say, and how you carry yourself, that you are the person you portray yourself to be? Have you ever thought that there are some who can see you for who you really are? Do you see yourself the same way other “good” judges of character see you? Understandably there are always those who will not completely understand you for one reason or another. However, do you live everyday trying to convince everyone, including yourself, that you are someone you really aren’t? Are you living knowing all the while that it has all been a show? These are tough questions when aimed inward and can be even tougher when you realize others can see you for who you really are, even though you haven’t been able to see yourself.
There are those who think my job is to prepare my students for an attack from a person who would do them harm in a dark alley or home invasion however, I am more concerned with who they become and their ability to do themselves harm. In many of my classes physical techniques are a byproduct of what I am actually teaching. We will always be our own greatest enemy and once we are able to understand and concur ourselves only then can we begin to understand and defend against another. Having this deeper understanding of who we are will strengthen our ability to be a good judge of character if we are of good character and portray ourselves as the person we truly are. Have you ever heard the old saying “It takes one to know one”? I think it fits this thought perfectly, think about it.