I’ve been thinking lately about life and martial arts. I was writing before that one cannot pray to become enlightened night time and then punch and kick people daytime. I have reached a point when I am too old to care about sensitivities and mature enough to be able to defend my opinion.
I was asked many times : What is a life of a martial artist or the way of the warrior?
Some people misunderstand it for a life of a fighter. It is not. A fighter might or might not be a warrior. I am writing this in order to shed some light inside the room and I hope it might be useful for beginners especially.
A warrior’s way It’s more like seeking the truth about yourself and human nature by putting yourself through pain,frustration,humbling experiences, hard times and constant learning. Martial arts or fight sports are just one of the ways you can get this knowledge. Working hard for your family, doing research, battling your handicap, pursuing relentlessly your passion are other ways to stay on this path.
If your search is honest you will understand the warrior’s way in your heart. You never know the outcome of a battle. All you know is that you go into battle fully confident in your abilities to make all things work in your favor. You also have to understand that in life there is a time for battle, time for rest, time for training and time for learning. Learning is not the same thing as training. Training is again not the same thing as doing battle. As Sun Tzu said on YouTube…Only extraordinary moments require extraordinary measures. Everyone should make a clear difference between things. Mixing them up will only add to your unhappiness.
Most of the people will not understand you as it seems you always change. You always change yet you remain stable in your pursuit. Change is the engine of growth and constancy is the fuel.
There are some toxic people one might encounter on the way. Others might become toxic in time. It is important to understand that everything is changing. But as it is said… anybody can be your master so be open to learn from anybody. It might sound like a paradox.
Some individuals like to fight and fighting is their goal in life but this will last only for so long. It’s the prize fighter’s way. Battered body and destroyed mind is the price one might pay for being an eagle for a short time. It sounds nice and all but it’s just food for ego. Basic wisdom should teach us when to change our life and which way to go. These kind of people if they can transition at the right time can be an invaluable source of information and knowledge.
Others become theoreticians of the art having a wealth of knowledge but with little practical ability to apply it in real life. Great source of information, they love to be called masters or grand-masters of sorts. If they transition to this phase from the fighter’s way then that’s great but it rarely happens. They usually start their practice with honesty but somewhere at some point along the way something changes. The more they advance in age the more a subtle ego develops.
The collector is another toxic character especially for beginners. They seem to have a wealth of information and knowledge but they are half baked in any martial art they studied simply because they didn’t spend enough time honing their skill in a particular martial art. They collect belts and grades and teaching certificates in as many martial arts they can. They are like the fool’s gold because they make a great impression at first but if you cut through all this fog ,you realize that the Chinese or Japanese words they use are the wrong ones and also other small cracks in their knowledge start to appear. They can fool a beginner but never a seasoned practitioner.
The point is, you will encounter many types of people in your journey. Keep a clear mind and observe but don’t judge. Everyone has it’s own destiny and we can learn from anyone. It’s a paradox. Even the humblest person can give you the knowledge you lack to get the job done. Never dismiss anyone but be aware and understand that you cannot change the nature of a tiger. People change only if they want to change. Don’t even bother trying to change the mind of other people. If it’s on your path offer them a safe space where they can change themselves. Be generous and don’t focus on small things. You might be forced to play different roles in your life but never let the inner fire stop burning. You might be a wife, husband, father, coach, friend, drug addict, cancer survivor, business person, worker or martial artist but never never let your inner sword rust. Always find time to clean it and polish it because times are always changing. Don’t let the glittering pebbles divert you from your way.