How good do you hope, wish, want or need to be?

October 2005

Volume 8 Issue 10

Aibudo Kanji
Picture of Shihan

who would question why anyone would want to be in the martial arts.  Why "waste" a lifetime on something that is full of sweat, pain, hardship and discouragement?  To me, it wasn't a waste but the latter, was and still is all true.  There is one thing though that overshadows  the "sweat, pain, hardship and discouragement" and that is "satisfaction".  Maybe not 100%, but satisfaction just the same, that I became "half as good" as my original Sensei.  I don't mean only, that I can perform kumite "half as good" as him, but that I don't have to hang my head or avoid obstructions of ignorance in my path of life.  No man should have to change his "path" on the street or in a crowd, just because someone else desires me to.  It's now their time to "move out of my way" and not interfere in myself living my life.  I will not be guided mentally or physically by some individual or group "bully".  Sensei Bodwell's conflict  philosophy was then and is now also right.  It was, that "if we have a problem, you will be in the hospital next to me" and now it's, "you're going to the hospital and I'm going home".  The alternative to only "wishing" you could do that could be fatal.  Besides that, how do you want your fellow man to look at you?  An adult, regardless of their weight and stature, appearing as a 100 pound weakling isn't acceptable.  It isn't acceptable to you personally and it isn't acceptable to your friends and family.  The martial arts doesn't only assist you in dealing with a physical confrontation, but also as a member or participant in an organization or business.  You become more forward and in control, rather than being led around by the nose.  Your ideas

are taken more seriously.  You have more pride in yourself and your fellowman will give you a bit more respect.  You might not always agree or get along, but the respect will be there regardless.  The journey to the "end of the trip" will be  a whole lot smoother and satisfying as a martial artist than, "I wish I was"!

Doing What's Expected

Do what's "expected"

or exceed the minimum's.

It's every man's choice. 

Just get by or excel.

Training Time

     This may seem like "beating a dead horse", but here it.  How long did it take for you to learn your present occupation?  How many hours per week did you spend on the job while learning?  It used to be that 40 hours was the accepted norm, but of course today it's generally much more.  Using 40 hours as a comparison, how many hours per week do you currently spend training in the martial arts?  It varies greatly from system to system, with some only training an hour to an hour and a half per week.  Within our system, we have a minimum class time required of 6 hours per week.  Using the comparison of our system to the 40 hour work week that comes out to 6 1/2 weeks of martial arts training to 1 week on the 40 hour job.  Less say that it took you a year to learn your present occupation, so a that rate within our system it can easily take 6 1/2 years to learn enough of our system to acquire 1st degree blackbelt.  Naturally if you put in extra training hours at the dojo, or even at home, you would advance quicker than that. As we state in our by-laws you can advance to Shodan in the minimum time of 34 month's.  Most don't, but with maximum effort that is what you could accomplish.

     The title is full of words that could be used as verbs in describing your thoughts regarding "your end of the trip" in the martial arts.  The first two are "losers" in acquiring those desires, but the second two are "winners".  Wishing and hoping just won't get it.  Wanting and needing are necessary. There is a fifth that wouldn't "fit" into the title question and that was "will".  In the beginning, "will" seems almost unattainable, but "want" and "need" are realistic.  Hoping and wishing for anything doesn't involve any work other than thought.  The first time I witnessed my Sensei, I told myself right then and there that I "wanted" to be just half that good.  Later in years when I was approaching "half" that good, it was no longer good enough. I then wanted to be just as good as my Sensei.  It then got to the point that I wasn't going to be inferior to any Sensei and so the drive went on.  I'm not saying that I am now the "best", but I put heart and soul into being the "best" that I could be.  There were a good many bruises, fractures, dislocations, etc., but they didn't matter.  There were even some personal hardships because of my participation within the arts, but I "needed" to be the best that was possible for me and "nothing" was going to get in the way of it.  Do I regret my "trip" in the arts"?  About some things yes, but the satisfaction of possibly acquiring my initial "need" when witnessing my Sensei many years ago, no!  In the first class that I participated in, I believe that there were about 75 people in it and what their desires were, I don't know, but I'm the only one out of that 75, who became a martial artist.  I believe that there might be one "karate" practitioner out of that group, but that's it.  There are many people