There is a lot of criticism in the martial arts world about commercial schools. Some will say that we are selling out by commercializing the arts. Obviously I don’t agree with these people, but today I am going to use this reference to talk about the journey to black belt.
Back when the martial arts made its way across the oceans it was an ‘only the strong survive’ club. One of the reasons for this attitude was because it was the military who were largely responsible for it coming here. The arts were taught in a very military style, because that is what people wanted and expected.
When I started in the arts this was the situations and instruction style that existed. I learned to do jumping and flying kicks by jumping over chairs and tables. Failure meant PAIN. Correction of technique was often done with a bamboo stick. Verbal abuse and being degraded were common. Personally, at the time I had no issues with this.
After 16 years of this training, I was having doubts about it’s effectiveness. Of the hundreds and hundreds of people who had joined this school, only 2 or 3 of us still remained. The model was obviously flawed.
Today I view martial arts as a journey of personal development. I believed that the day I started, the difference today is I know and understand that the WAY cannot be pointed to by the teacher with a bamboo stick. Hard work and dedication will get a person to Black Belt, along with an understanding of the meaning and purpose of doing so. Martial Arts is a journey of SELF, not a competition with someone else.
The real benefits of martial arts training come by doing it a long time.