When you begin to feel like you are a tough guy, a warrior, a master of the martial arts or that you have lived a tough life, just take a moment and get some perspective with the following:
I've stopped knives that were coming to disembowel me
I've clawed for my gun while bullets ripped past me
I've dodged as someone tried to put an ax in my skull
I've fought screaming steel and left rubber on the road to avoid death
I've clawed broken glass out of my body after their opening attack failed
I've spit blood and body parts and broke strangle holds before gouging eyes
I've charged into fires, fought through blizzards and run from tornados
I've survived being hunted by gangs, killers and contract killers
The streets were my home, I hunted in the night and was hunted in turn
Please don't brag to me that you're a survivor because someone hit you. And don't tell me how 'tough' you are because of your training. As much as I've been through I know people who have survived much, much worse. - Marc MacYoung
WARNING, CAVEAT AND NOTE
The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books. Please make note that this article/post is my personal analysis of the subject and the information used was chosen or picked by me. It is not an analysis piece because it lacks complete and comprehensive research, it was not adequately and completely investigated and it is not balanced, i.e., it is my personal view without the views of others including subject experts, etc. Look at this as “Infotainment rather then expert research.” This is an opinion/editorial article/post meant to persuade the reader to think, decide and accept or reject my premise. It is an attempt to cause change or reinforce attitudes, beliefs and values as they apply to martial arts and/or self-defense. It is merely a commentary on the subject in the particular article presented.
Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.
“What you are reading right now is a blog. It’s written and posted by me, because I want to. I get no financial remuneration for writing it. I don’t have to meet anyone’s criteria in order to post it. Not only I don’t have an employer or publisher, but I’m not even constrained by having to please an audience. If people won’t like it, they won’t read it, but I won’t lose anything by it. Provided I don’t break any laws (libel, incitement to violence, etc.), I can post whatever I want. This means that I can write openly and honestly, however controversial my opinions may be. It also means that I could write total bullshit; there is no quality control. I could be biased. I could be insane. I could be trolling. … not all sources are equivalent, and all sources have their pros and cons. These needs to be taken into account when evaluating information, and all information should be evaluated.” - God’s Bastard, Sourcing Sources (this applies to this and other blogs by me as well; if you follow the idea's, advice or information you are on your own, don't come crying to me, it is all on you do do the work to make sure it works for you!)
“You should prepare yourself to dedicate at least five or six years to your training and practice to understand the philosophy and physiokinetics of martial arts and karate so that you can understand the true spirit of everything and dedicate your mind, body and spirit to the discipline of the art.” - cejames (note: you are on your own, make sure you get expert hands-on guidance in all things martial and self-defense)
“All I say is by way of discourse, and nothing by way of advice. I should not speak so boldly if it were my due to be believed.” - Montaigne
On The Dojo Floor
I also believe that most of the technical of a martial art is up to the 3rd Dan level and after is more in line with other criteria - subjective criteria. I also believe one must remain an associate/assistant instructor until they reach San-dan and from San-dan to Go-dan act as Sensei of a dojo with periodic check-up's from a more senior instructor just to keep things "frosty."
Now, with that said and taking into consideration what Mokuren's blog post states I would still want to see what a person does on the dojo floor. I would then adjust that perception of reality to take into consideration various factors such as age, health, etc. I feel anyone who gets on the dojo floor must be in good health and in some level of appropriate physical fitness. Being fit and leading are important for the dojo floor is where everyone practices and learns. Everyone who practices and learns is a potential instructor if only by their actions. Those who observe those actions are potentially being instructed by the person practicing,
I do mean that even if the instructor cannot keep up with younger folks they still inspire by the enlightening perfection of fundamental principles applied in a somewhat effortless manner. I also mean that the example set is not just as to the actions of the individual. It is also the manner and physical presence of that person. Their demeanor, physical presences, manner, morals, etc. all will be on display in every single thing done by them whether spoken, action, or written - in all things of that person and related to that person.
I also believe wholeheartedly that once achieved always earned. If a person of any level confronts some physical obstacle it is not that they cannot get on the dojo floor. It is what they do with that obstacle. There are mental and physical things beyond our control and how we handle those is important. If one allows themselves to lose this level of personal heart then get off the floor. We as higher level Yu-dan-sha have a responsibility regardless of whether actively teaching or not. Teaching goes on regardless. It happens in every day life. It is that thing a person detects when they meet and sometimes cannot put their finger on just what it is - yet it is there none the less.
My favorite example is an article in the San Francisco Chronicle long ago about a Judo Instructor of high level who mostly sat on the side observing. She would detect something and then rise up, reach out to the person, and then "teach/mentor/instruct" them in the "proper way." She was in her nineties. Her spirit spoke volumes and every one of every age knew it instinctively. This is a higher level. Higher level person. Higher level example. Higher level Yu-dan-sha. Higher inspiration to all martial artists.
She may not have spent time on the dojo floor working with the others - she spent time on the dojo floor that was perfection in application of instruction. She had enough intestinal fortitude and ability to mentor skills appropriate to here level, ability, mental/physical capability/ability, etc. Truly inspirational.
In closing, on the dojo floor means to me that one be physical fit, healthy, and willing. Dignity and example are the criteria for any level of grade. Spirit and wholehearted effort are the rules. To achieve this on or off the dojo floor speaks volumes as to the person and their practice.