Saturday, 22 November 2008
It's difficult to put my finger on really. I mean, why do we train? Why do we endure difficulties and hardships in order to exercise within our chosen art? Is it so we can put a black belt on one day? Well, I can buy a black belt from a martial arts shop anyday so I think it's deeper than that. I do know people who attained black belt and then, rather than seeing this as the start of an amazing journey, simply left the platform and headed home, never to be seen again. They'd achieved all they needed to.
It's in my fibres though. When I don't train I get itchy. I pace like a caged animal. The energy needs to be expended. But again, there is more to it than making myself out of breath. I can do that by taking up smoking, surely. We go back to the dojo week in and week out as if there was an obligation or something drawing us there. Something about repeating well trodden systems of punches and kicks, repeating these over and over again striving for the perfect technique. Knowing we'll never attain it brings us back even keener to learn because this is a process- a way of learning and feeding your body and mind. What is important is how we as martial artists deal with this process and how this comes into our lives on a daily basis. I read a story about someone who was asked at a grading how often they had had to use their martial arts skills outside of the dojo. Never they replied to which the instructor replied that martial skills should be used on a daily basis. Of course he didn't mean kicks and punches and self defence. He meant that the attitude that we craft and the outlook we aspire to when practicing our techniques should be with us always- in our work and play and maybe even when we're at rest. When we're resting we can visualise our desired successes or play through conflicts we have at work and figure out the best way forward in the safety of our mind-dojo, or maybe we can simply breathe deeply. Breathing deeply is something we've hopefully all benefited from in our training.