THE MARTIAL ARTS
The following dissertation in print, is included in the first pages of the "Master Text" that the instructors receive. You will find that some of the text later on in this book, comes from this introduction, that is titled: "An instructor and his thoughts"
As I have found during my time in the Martial Arts, they are different, but similar. They are as comparing a steel frame, multi-level apartment building to a single-family wood frame home. And amidst these, there are multi-differences. The only similarity is, that people utilize them. But, even at that, there are differences. Some individuals just spend time in them, while others live in them. For some it is just a transition from this time to another or from one job to another. For others, its where they want to spend their life and build a foundation for themselves and others. Some habitats are built to survive a lifetime of abuse and others are just built to sell.
The Martial Arts are as comparing these same factors. We have the multi-faceted complex, with its health spa, physical fitness department, yoga classes and of course, the "Karate classes". And then, we have on the other end of the scale, the single instructor, private class, in-home dojo. We have the "money machines" and the "dedicated, losing money" operation. The major portion of individuals who begin Martial Arts classes never survive past the introduction. I have found, that many who sweat, work and toil to make it within a grade or two of Black-belt, quit for some rather odd reasons. Others, once the "Black" is reached, quit with the false idea, that they have "made it". Made what? A Black-belt is no more than a student who has graduated from, say high-school. There is a good deal more education out there than that. Also, once the "Bare-feet" are put back in shoes, that individual never will experience the true "Way".
I have read many times, where instructors encourage their students to participate in sports. While sports are excellent for many people, these "sports" are just that. Sports, for the most part, are part-time, intermittent past-times. They are not a permanent entity for the majority. In my experience, the Martial Arts students who are only, Martial Arts students, are the better, more dedicated, respectful individuals. I realize that this may not be the case for some, but this is what I have found. As the "full-time" students "work their heart out" to improve in their endeavors, and as the "part-timers" show up at their convenience, there can be an inequality in the instruction received. The full-timers feel slighted, when extra time has to be given to try and catch up the undedicated. Then on the other hand, the part-timers begin to believe that you don't appreciate them, because you're working very hard to "peak-out" your full-timers. Right, wrong or indifferent, I do not take individuals who are very heavy in sports of any kind. I do, on the other hand, have persons who are in to physical fitness on an individual basis at Centers or the like. This seems to work out well, as this is complimentary to the Martial Arts, I have found.
Class time is another great variable. I have noticed where there are many classes that are only 30 minutes to 1 hour long, and claim to teach or instruct a full range of requirements. The physical conditioning that I feel is required for a complete Martial Artist, in our classes, takes 1 1/2 to 2 hours all by itself. The normal class time, for us, ranges from 2 1/2 to 4 hours in length. This is itself, eliminates the intermittent participant and allows the more serious to achieve their desired result. I have also found, that the participants who only come, when they don't have any thing better to do, never acquire the mental levels that are inherent in a true Martial Artist. Of course, some will ask, when did I become the source of what that should be? I can only witness, the humility, respect and dedication of the individuals that have crossed in front of me.
I also believe that when a Martial Artist decides to take the responsibility of teaching, that they should never quit, unless, there is an instructor to follow up on the teachings. I can not understand how an individual could take in students and then decide some day to just quit. What about the feelings of the people who are "dumped" to fend for themselves.
All of us have heard the comments or statements made concerning credibility on one school or another. It seems paramount that a schools credibility is dependent upon the trophies on display. My own, son, as a student, acquired 1st in both Kata and Kumite. But, it didn't prove that the classes were good or bad. He just had natural ability, listened to his dad and was able to use his "tools". My point is, that he was not a "true" Martial Artist at the time, for he quit after a short while. I have students with no trophies at all, who I respect as much as individuals and more as Martial Artists. Martial Artists are just like plumbers. They are only plumbers while they are active in their occupation. Once retired, they were plumbers.
The accomplishments of the general student is not to be shown as a physical trophy. But, as improvement in self-esteem, self-confidence, physical condition and a more forward attitude. In other words, just a general, all-around, better feeling about oneself.
Alertness, reaction time, balance and awareness are all a result of "true" training. It generates the ability to project an attitude that allows one to "talk down" a confrontation rather than enter into one, and still have the feeling of winning.
Dennis L. Wissler