What does it "cost" to be in the light?  Is it worth it?

Picture of Shihan

December 2001

Volume 3 Issue 12

Aibudo Kanji

"Blowing ones horn"

and being in the "light"!


     I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings with this article, so I won't mention names or the organization, for they have performed a valuable service in the past which I am grateful, but!

     I'm sure that thousands upon thousands of individuals have seen in ads or received in the mail the "opportunity" to receive a degree of this or that just by sending a certain sum of money.  Well, the other day I and, I guess apx. 99 other individuals, received the chance to be accepted into a martial arts "Hall of Fame" by sending in $89.00.  With this and an "official" ceremony, you would receive a plaque, be included in an article in the newspaper and official papers stating that you are indeed in the Hall of Fame.  This would probably aid in the acquisition of a new student or too, but is the cost worth it.  As in last months Hoodoo, is it more important for a true martial artist to be in the light or the shade.

     Is it your deeds or "paid for" recognition that you work so hard for in the arts?  Do your abilities and knowledge improve anymore with the "blowing of your horn"?  How many times have you witnessed a martial artist, who has been "promoted" above their abilities, made only to look inferior when they are "tested" in front of other martial arts professionals or in the dojo ring.  If it's not humiliating to them, then they have been "promoted" so high artificially that they are blind to the truth and make excuses to aid in the pacification to themselves.  The excuses, though, only make the truth more evident.  Their rank and abilities are, for all to see, put in question as to where they have come from and how.  If you are satisfied with your abilities, as they are for what you represent, then you can be proud of  "what you are" and not "what you are promoted to be".  I realize that it is not as exciting to work in the shade, as in the light, but that's where I believe the true martial artists should be.  Would you rather withhold your most "secret" and efficient techniques from the general populous or put them in print or demonstrate in seminars for all to see.  A German tank commander did that and it aided Patton in defeating him.  What was the cost in this self promotion?  What is the long term cost in "beating your chest" and "blowing your horn"?

Those who "sacrifice"!


     Lifelong martial artists sacrifice of their life for the arts rather than the arts for their life.  The lifelong martial arts, sometimes show up for training when they are so tired, that if they were to sit down, they would probably go to sleep.  You have all witnessed the dedicated come to class when they appear to be sick enough, that a "street" person would have stayed home.  These individuals also schedule family outings and the like to work around training instead of the other way around.  It is said that only  one in two thousand individuals ever acquire "Blackbelt", but I believe that it is only one in two thousand that become true martial artists.  I have seen  several "Blackbelts" that appear to have only "dyed" their "Whitebelt" to speed the process and cover the truth (only to themselves).  The true lifelong martial artists "record that important game" or attempt to reschedule or work around a family outing rather than miss a training regimen.  The "externals" will take a "back seat" to the "internals".


Focus


     You have all heard the term focus.  Going beyond the basic instruction in focus, let's move a step up to utilizing efficient focus.  Appearance or expectation to the outsider is different than what true focus is and how it is utilized to increase efficiency in your actions and results.  As you should already know, the worse thing in the world is to "focus", or otherwise stare at, or upon, the "weapon(s)".  Your response time is severely extended and your counter or evasion ends up being "off the mark".  As you have heard stated before, efficient focus comes about by "focusing" off of the weapon and upon or around the action or situation.  In this manner your "plan of attack" is not hindered by the direct visual appearance of the impending attack but enhanced by concentrating only upon your desired result.  In this way, your opponent is not aware of your intention until "it's over".  Your counter or attack will be "on the mark" and they will have entirely missed theirs.  You stand looking pretty and they look as if they just spilled their soup.  Focus improves with time, but the place to start is not "focusing" upon an intended weapon or appendage.

The correct training posture


     No matter the technique, training with exaggerated postures will generally improve your end result.  With each movement look at your stance and widen it.  Most generally not forward but in width.  Square up your feet and straighten your back.  By training in exaggerated postures, your void postures will be greatly improved.  This is true even for the professionals in the arts.  Posture can always be improved in one way or the other.  If you're totally "satisfied" with it, then there is most likely something wrong with it.  If you have to reach to access a target, you are too far away.   

     Proper balance comes about through proper posture.  If you have to overly reach with  your arms or legs, pull your shoulders off square or overly lean with your upper body to perform your movement, balance suffers dramatically.  Maintain your back straight, your shoulders square and your movements short and precise.  Do not allow your focus to drift as you move, but maintain it upon the action.  If you have to cover an extended distance, advance with more speed than normal and add a defensive set to your closure.  If you remember that Musashi said their were three ways to close with your opponent. Ken No Sen, Tai No Sen and Tai Tai No Sen.  If your technique is not advanced to the point of Ken No Sen, then "bide your time" and utilize one of the others to improve the desired result through proper posture.  Over extending in your attack or defense only shortens your demise.


Levers


     Going along with previous dissertation, levers can not be left out.  This generalization article along with efficient levers should be "short" and sweet.  Whether on your feet or on the ground, extended levers are weak and short levers are strong.  If you are working with an opponent much stronger than you and you attempt any long lever technique you will fail in your attempt.  I would much rather you operate entirely with short levers 100% of the time and improve your successes, time after time.  Particularly when on the ground, stay in the center with your arms and outside with your feet.  Short levers with your hands and extended postures with your feet.  Enough said!

Respect,

earned through deeds

or "purchased" through

self-promotion?

Reflecting Before Training