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
“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
“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
Go the Distance!
Many terms are bantered about to promote a discipline and mind-set for one to "go the distance." I place quotes of inspiration in a lot of observable places be it on the blog page, in a letter, a signature to email and messages and so forth to inspire me when I read it and to provide a source of inspiration to those who may see it and become interested. In the end tho that person has to look within and find a way to "go the distance" to achieve what ever it is they want to achieve.
If a person in the dojo achieves the black belt. If the Sensei and dojo mates all participate accordingly then the mind-set is there. If not and the new black belt quits then let them go for the dojo failed, the Sensei failed and the Sempai/Kohai failed their dojo mate and the dojo mate failed them all. Hard, unforgiving? Yes, but isn't this a part of improvement and going the distance.
Once this occurs we look at the moment as a test, shugyo and a means to either remain complacent or to take action to modify the mind-set and atmosphere, culture and beliefs of the dojo and set the mind to "go the distance!" If it works, the job is done and they all go the distance then the next black belt doesn't quit. They remain or go out and seek more in the world of the many systems, i.e. karate, aikido, kendo, art of tea, art of flower arrangement, or any other discipline that is a part of their new foundation.
Then again it may be the "reason" they discontinue that really counts. Sometimes all things are as they should be but someone still decides to stop practicing which begs the question, why? The reasons really matter only to the individual and the discontinuing of participation in the dojo should still be evaluated to ensure the facility it adhering to its core beliefs and processes, to make sure and to find more avenues of improvement.
In this case does the person who stops really stop being a karate-ka? Do they really stop using and applying their expertise in karate-jutsu-do? All things being equal they don't. Why is this, because it has become a part of them. It is their beliefs and culture enhanced by the training, practice and experience. Even when you quit if things were balanced, physical and mental, it can not help but influence change within the person.
I stopped being an active Marine a long time ago. I am still a Marine. I am still influenced by being a Marine today because the influences of the Marines are now a part of me like fingers and hands. This is true for me in karate as well. It could be true of those who even feel the need to stop participating in karate - martial arts.
It becomes a layer of skin, a new tactile feeling in our hands and feet, it has a special place and part of our heart, spirit and being - that can't be lost even if practice is.
So, how you see, hear and feel it when it happens is an intricate part of you as Sensei, your participants and the facilities overall influence - good, bad or indifferent, your choice at all times.
Waxing Philosophical over now :-)