People want to feel important and needed, so they seek ways to feel important and needed. To accomplish this, some people learn to do things that few others can do, but wish they could do, becoming “subject matter experts,” hereafter referred to as SMEs. People seek the services of SMEs to:
- Learn to perform the subject matter skills, such as going to a school to obtain a college degree or to earn a black belt.
- Obtain the subject matter services, such as the services of doctors, mechanics, plumbers, etc.
- Belong to a group of like-minded believers, such as joining a fan club, a religious group, or a group of conspiracy believers.
Performing any task requires both mental and physical prowess; therefore, SMEs need both physical and mental prowess. SMEs may need, and have, a lot of physical prowess, or a lot of mental prowess or, in rare cases, they may need or have a lot of both.
The best brain surgeon in the world may be an obese, physical wreck. For example, watch newscasts where a group of doctors is announcing a new medical breakthrough and look at the physical condition of the doctors standing in the background. Conversely, a sports superstar with a rock hard body may be an illiterate idiot. For example, watch interviews with sport stars.
For this discussion of SMEs, let us use the example of a trainer and a boxer. Some SMEs require mental prowess, such as a trainer who trains a professional boxer to fight, while some SMEs require physical prowess, such as a professional boxer who fights in the ring. A trainer only needs minimal physical prowess, and a boxer only needs minimal mental prowess. Both the trainer and boxer may argue this, but the bottom line is that—it is true. Both trainer and boxer may have a lot of physical and mental prowess, but a lot of both are not required for each to be a SME.
Although the trainer may be, or may have been, an outstanding boxer; it is not required for the task. The trainer does not need to be able to physically box; a trainer develops strategies for the boxer. A trainer only needs to be able to obtain the best performance from a boxer; this requires much mental prowess and little physical prowess.
A boxer needs to be able to box in the ring, but this requires little mental prowess. The trainer develops the strategies needed to win, the boxer only needs to carry out the tactics, to punch hard and hit the target, which requires much physical prowess but little mental prowess.
This is not to say that all trainers are physical wrecks and that all boxers are idiots. A trainer with increased physical prowess may be a better trainer, and a boxer with increased mental prowess may be a better boxer. A great trainer may be an Olympic champion, and an Olympic boxer may be a genius. However, in general, trainers do not need much physical prowess and boxers do not need a lot of mental prowess. Look at professional sports. Some great trainers can perform physically, but many are physical wrecks, and some great athletes are bright, but many are dim.
The trainer/boxer comparison may also be compared to the martial art instructor and the martial art student. A great instructor needs the mental skills needed to train students, but needs few physical skills. A great student needs the physical skills needed perform techniques, but only needs minimal mental skills. An idiot will not make a good instructor, and a person who cannot perform physically will not make a good martial artist. Most people will agree that an idiot will not make a good instructor, but, to be politically correct, they will probably disagree that a person with limited physical abilities will not be a good martial artist. The current “correct” belief is that all persons can be good at anything if they are given the opportunity. “Given the opportunity” usually means lowering the requirements for something until any person can do it.
The martial arts are combat arts. They were created from a need to prevent the enemy from injuring or killing you, and from a need for you to be able to injure or kill the enemy. The other benefits that may be gained from performing martial arts may be a good reason to perform them, but if you cannot physically stop an attacker from injuring or killing you and you are not able to injure or kill the enemy, you will never be a true martial artist. To believe otherwise will mislead mentally or physically limited students into believing they may be effective martial artists. Although, with training that is tailored to fit their limitations, they maybe more able to defend themselves, they will probably never become true martial artists. If you give black belts to students who cannot perform techniques required of all other black belts or you lower the standards required of black belts, then you degrade the status of the black belt and mislead the students.
An instructor may be an obese, physical wreck that cannot defend him or herself effectively, but if he or she can produce outstanding martial artists, then he or she is a good instructor. If you had a brain tumor, you would not reject the services of the world greatest brain surgeon just because he or she was obese. However, if a student cannot perform the required techniques in an effective manner, he or she will never become a true martial artist. You would reject a brain surgeon whose patients routinely die on the operating table.
Although an idiot usually cannot become an instructor, it does not mean that all instructors are necessarily bright. Some instructors are rather dim and only exist because they are able to find dimwits who believe them.
Although physically limited martial artists usually do not become great fighters, it does not mean all great fighters have great physical prowess. Some great fighters make up for their physical limitations by being smart fighters.
If you are seeking SME instructor, the SME must have the mental prowess required, but he or she does not necessarily need much physical prowess. A person may have the physical prowess to be a SME in the ring, but it does not necessarily mean he or she had the mental prowess to be an instructor.