I worked hard; but it stunk.
Three hours of writing down the drain.
It was filled with selfishness.
I was trying to write about learning martial arts. How to help people learn faster.
But I kept sticking in little bits and pieces about me. Things that would make me look cool.
Then it hit me. That’s the point.
Learning martial arts is about letting go of selfishness. Getting rid of the part of you that wants to be cool. Getting rid of the part of you that CARES about what other people think. Dumping your ego.
Good writing and good martial arts are the same.
One time I heard Eddie Van Halen say there are only two kinds of music; good and bad.
Good music takes you places.
Bad music leaves you in your head.
Martial Arts is like that.
You don’t do good martial arts. Good martial arts does you.
Here’s are some things that will help you be a good martial artist. It doesn’t matter what dojo or what style. Maybe these ideas will help you be good at ANYTHING you want to learn.
Habits are more important than goals.
The best habit you can build is to practice daily. By practicing every single day (even if it’s five minutes) your life will be transform in one year.
Don’t kid yourself. You will always work out harder in the dojo than at home. Be on the mats at least twice a week. More if you can.
Don’t skip weeks and think you can make it up later. You can’t.
Keep a journal.
Every time you go to class learn one new thing, no matter how small.
After class write down what you learned.
Make your dojo better.
Never allow yourself to enter your dojo without making it better. If you see something out of place pick it up. If you see someone who needs help give it to them. Even the tiniest of actions matters.
Write down what you did in your journal.
Don’t tell anyone.
You’re already in uniform; you’re already sweating. Take advantage.
Your class is when you learn from your instructor. After class is when you learn from others.
Practice forms, free roll, sparr, work timing drills. It doesn’t matter. Just stay.
Read about your art. Read about other arts. Read books on technique, but go to the back and find the places here there are no pictures and only words. Especially read those parts. Learn the history and philosophy.
If your teacher learned from from someone (even if who they learned from isn't a martial artist) read that stuff too.
Don’t get pulled in.
Even in the best dojo’s there are egos.
Any time your ego gets involved it will ruin you.
Don’t let it.
When you have the feeling of competition your ego’s got you. People who are filled with ego are always looking to beat others. It’s what the ego does.
Don’t fight these people. Don’t participate. Let them go first.
Let them win.
When I started Karate I used to fold my gi the traditional Japanese way.
A lot of the other beginners made fun of me.
Five years later the students who had teased me were no longer practicing. They had all quit.
Five years later I was allowed to go to the advanced class. In the advanced class EVERYONE was folding this way.
Keep doing what you think is right. Ignore what other people think.
Ego says: “It’s about me”.
Etiquette says: It’s about YOU”.
When you roll sometimes let lower ranks tap you. When you spar let less skilled people score on you. Don’t let them know.
Learn your dojo’s traditions; but don’t get hung up. Break tradition if you need to if it helps put others first.
For years my styles tradition was for everyone to come to attention and bow when the head teacher stepped onto the mats.
Then we moved the dojo.
In our new location you had to cross the mat in order to go to the bathroom.
I broke the tradition. I told everyone to stop bowing to me.
I was tired of the class stopping all the time.
I was tired of everyone knowing when I had to pee.
Where are you coming from?
Watch yourself throughout your day. At work, at home, at your kids soccer game, maybe even when you write.
Are you trying to manipulate? Are you trying to make yourself look cool?
… are you coming from love?
For god’s sake, if you write something try to make it about OTHERS. Try to give. Try to serve.
If your ego gets involved, cut your losses.
Throw what you wrote in the garbage.
Pray nobody finds it.