PERSEVERANCE



Any martial arts system should be a test of perseverance, both mentally and physically.  Not only for the very first beginner but for the masters themselves.  If not , it is not a true martial arts system.  A true system should be a guide for life, which perseverance is a major entity of. 

Perseverance, or the lack there of, is a key player in most individuals discontinuing their participation in the martial arts altogether.  There are many reasons why people join martial arts classes, but developing dedication to physical and mental training is generally not one of them.  Yet, without that, it is not of the martial arts tradition and purpose.  With every training session, there should be challenges to be met and attacked, with the spirit (idea) that "I will overcome".  "Overcoming" every class will develop a very strong individual, both physically and mentally and allow them to survive much better in the challenges of today's world. 

In the beginning, or the "white belt grade", discontinuing classes is much more prevalent, as this is the time which is the most disappointing in the accomplishments.  The acquiring of flexibility, endurance, toughness and development of technique does not come as fast as the beginners perception of what they expected or desired.  The hard work and constant criticism by the instructors works on the pride and self-esteem by which the human race puts a high value on.  They are unaware that this hard work and criticism will develop a higher pride in one-self when these new challenges are met and "defeated". 

Another problem with perseverance, is in the boredom of repetitious and seemingly unimportant movements and strange terminology.  Both of these seem far afield from their desire of  "learning how to fight and protect yourself".  They are unaware in the beginning, that this learning of "how to fight", will become less important as the years go by.  They are not even concerned with, "as the years go by", for they are only concerned with now, and how soon I am going to be promoted to the next grade.    When things seem to not happen as fast as they wish or their friends develop and learn faster than they do, beginners often quit very early.  I have witnessed this type of student being pampered just to maintain their involvement, but they never the less still quit at sometime and have done little more than "pass time".  In the process they have also wasted the training time of others who wish, and do finally advance in to their goals, one after the other.  I have seen these "pampered" students eventually reach "Black-belt" or advanced levels and yet never resemble a martial artist.  Only, someone wearing a "uniform" and an advanced level belt doing some sloppy moves and talking some strange language to impress the unknowledgeable.  These individuals never do acquire the quality or virtue of perseverance, as they have not been trained to develop it.  They have been cheated and the instructors have wasted time, that could have been used more effectively with those who desire to truly learn. 

That is a very controversial statement, but the keeping of individuals within a training system and not pushing them to develop the necessary virtues is generally done for one of two reasons.  The first is for the monies or financial gain and the second is to show other schools how many students and/or "Black-belts" they have.  When this type student at one time or the other, chooses to visit another school and participate in their training, they are generally embarrassed to the point of extreme, just because they were not driven to develop perseverance.

Not being totally satisfied with a students physical or mental accomplishments, is both an advantage to the student and master.  The master and student both get better through this perseverance development.  We must all be the best that we can be.