Monday, April 25, 2016

Watered down…. The Black Belt.

You can beat up people…

You can kick ass…

I want to learn how to fight…

I challenge you to a fight…

Does any of this sound familiar?

 Sadly, children now days are inundated with violence, whether it be through an increase of playing violent video games or seeing violent shows. 

Martial Arts is slowly being seen as a means to beat up people-or learn how to fight.  However, it is much more than that.  On another note, some think that certain styles are not beneficial to self-defense.  Let’s break this down.

Martial Arts is first and foremost about respect and integrity within the movements executed and between the individuals executing them.  When all you do is to teach how to fight, then you are creating just that: fighters with no respect- no integrity- that can potentially hurt another individual because they do not understand the respect that is required with the responsibility of their rankings.   That integrity is slowly being lost with the rise of violence in media and a lack of understanding of martial arts.

Now, in Martial A`rts, most learn the sports aspects of the art.  The art, is not taught either because the Instructor did not learn it or the sports aspect is the focus.  Now you take this scenario and teach students under one of the aforementioned situations and then the student opens up a school… the system is watered down further. 

The sport aspect of martial arts, of course, cannot be deemed as applicable in self-defense.  Why?  There are too many rules and guidelines.  In self-defense, there are no rules.  Having said this, then why is it that we cannot differentiate this concept when looking at the arts?  Because we are sadly seeing more and more of a watered down martial arts, irrespective of style.  If an Instructor only attempts to go to Black Belt and begin to teach they have only begun to understand martial arts.  On the same accord, a sports focus of martial arts only teaches to a certain.  But if we see only watered down and sports focused martial arts, then of course a person will not know that there is so much more to the art.  They do no know what more to look for. 

Martial Art Instructors begin to learn after the Black Belt.  This is when awareness of self and surroundings start to be understood; this is when understanding how styles coordinate which each other; this is when learning about themselves and how that relates to the art and how to teach.  It is a never-ending self-reflection, growth of awareness, and balance.    When one has not continued his/her learning, how can they help his/her student’s advance their learning?

This lack of growth and learning is why some styles are considered unworthy in self-defense.  For example, let’s look at forms (poomse/kata).  When first learning a form, you see it as a step by step, mundane, repetitive motion, with no understanding to its application.  An Instructor who has gone beyond the Black Belt will know and understand the explanation/application behind the block/punch/kick, etc… and can/will denote the self-defense aspects of the form.  However, when an Instructor has not gone through this process and chooses to teach, one of two things happen.
  1.  The form is taught in the same mundane manner, causing a continued lack of understanding and/or boredom for the Instructor and/or student.
  2. They are no longer taught because it is not understood, meaning that the concept of understanding the full art is gone.

Another example.  Why do we do seminars?  Because there is something empty.  We are still seeking to learn.  But, when an Instructor’s level of understanding hits a threshold and the student desires more which cannot be provided, they go seeking.  This is why having an Instructor with a solid understanding and with a solid curricula is important.

I am not downing the sport form of martial arts as it is exciting to watch and learn.  But one must note that due to the limits placed in sports-they do not define self-defense.  Nor, do they define MartAal arts.  Sports, demo teams, etc are only a small facet to the martial arts. 

Martial Arts is an internal growth that never ends.  For a student to learn it properly, requires a Master/Instructor who has learned it beyond the levels of a Black Belt.  If we continue to accept what just is, then we will lose the integrity that lies within martial arts: The Do-The Way.

You can beat up people…  I don't learn to beat up people.  I learn to be my best.

You can kick ass…  This is not why I train.  I train for my personal growth and awareness.

I want to learn how to fight…  It is not about fighting.  Yin Yang-balance

I challenge you to a fight…  Respect is foremost in Martial Arts.  Humble-integrity

The greatest challenge lies in myself.  To learn everyday.  To do better than yesterday.  To grow.  To be balanced.

Bring integrity back to what we learn.  Learn the art.  Learn The Do-The Way.

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