I originally wrote this post back in July, when looking at starting a new martial art, but having struggled for motivation, I left it half-written and stopped writing. Now, it is a new year! I'm not going to trot out a cliche about new years resolutions and starting my writing again, but I am going to admit I'm bored at work and had nothing else to do! So here it is.......
Throughout my life, I've had a fascination with and taken part in several martial arts. There was Judo when I was about 10, Taekwando when I was about 14 and Karate on and off from the age of 18. First drawn to these through the film The Karate Kid, something about them fascinated me. I think it was feeling a bit like an outsider when younger and feeling I was learning something that not many other people did - it gave me something different to belong to. Also, being younger, learning to 'fight' was something that made you feel cool and tough.
With maturity you realise that learning a martial art is about as useful in a fight as learning origami. You'd be better off kicking your opponent in the nuts or better yet, running off! The most important lesson in martial arts is this; 'We learn how to fight, so we do not have to fight'. Yes, martial arts do give you the skill to defend yourself. BUT.....and this is important. ONLY after dedicating yourself to learning the art and practising over many years. By this point, you have learnt why you do not need to fight and the circle is complete.
Still, knowing this is different from having learnt through your own experience. Deep down a lot of us would still love to have the knowledge that, when it really came to it and we had to defend ourselves, we could. Without question and with confidence. Wouldn't it be great to be near the top of the food chain?
I'm sure Merlin wouldn't mind me saying; but he used to have some issues with wanting to prove himself. But the journey he has taken on the way to becoming a Sensei has taught him why he no longer needs to fight.
It is a journey that most people who enjoy a fight, don't take. You see it every weekend in the city centre, hear it on the news and read it in the paper. It takes real intelligence knowing why you shouldn't fight, to be able to walk away and 'be the bigger man'.
As you get older, you get wiser. Unfortunately, some people never get older. Rather than learn to fight, learn how to run, fast! :D