Monday, March 11, 2013


Belts have always been a bit of an area of indifference to me... i get it, but i work out in a very small dojo where everyone knows each other's abilities (three students is often a busy night)... sometimes, when we travel to another club or attend a seminar, it helps out with the teaching/learning match-ups... but belt standards are different in each dojo, plus, i go to maybe three such events a year, so for the most part i don't think too much about it.
however, my five-year-old son recently received his orange belt... and it was great to see the effort and energy he put into attaining it... even at his age--or especially at his age--i could tell he needed a boost and/or something to focus on... and so did his sensei... it was a huge motivator, and he earned the belt through so much hard work...   (and the great part at that age is there is absolutely no ego involved; the belt is just as exciting as getting a gift at Christmas, but there is little concern for what other kids are doing or achieving...)
so,  i learned that however indifferent i may have become, i got a real kick out of his acheivment, and i can see how it encouraged his growth as a little martial artist...
the only down side is that dad still ties his belt, and new belts always find a way to fall off during class... it took us more than a year to break in that yellow one...

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

awkwardness and incompetence...

lately, i've experienced epic amounts of awkwardness and incompetence while trying to learn new sword, stick, and staff techniques. aside from one bo kata, i've spent very little time using these weapons, and believe me, it shows.
 i am a total beginner again; it's amusing and frustrating all at once.
i guess, in the past, i have always avoided weapons training (empty hand defenses notwithstanding). i've always felt that i'd rather spend the time on basic self-defense than on something i'd never use, like a sword. but lately, well, it's been kind of pushed on me.
my initial reaction was to just to do it and get it over with. smile, learn a few techniques, then return to empty hand drills. but after being forced to spend more and more time at it, i knew this was not the right way to look at the situation. don't get me wrong, i still am ambivalent, but i am trying to balance out my point of view.
so i'm looking at the weapons training as a way of expanding and exercising my brain; i'm looking at the link between empty hand techniques and those of weapons; i'm further understanding combat mechanics and how a weapon can be an extension of your body; and i'm getting a bit of a history lesson when i think of the countless soldiers and civilians who were once trained in these arts.
and the beginner's mind is good, after all.
it's just that sometimes i need to be forced into it.