Recently I had to purchase a pair of glasses. This was just another sign of “maturing” at middle age. At this point I’m doing what I can to grow old as gracefully as possible. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I recently had a meeting with my mentor in martial arts and certain things were explained in certain ways. Movements were encouraged to be adapted to where my physical prowess is at this season of life. I wasn’t asked to slow down or anything, but I received instruction to do my best. My best. Over the years that has meant different things to me as a martial artist. My best in my teens was erratic and just a mess. Invincibility was declared and off I went to posture myself in a world of bullies and brutes that I wasn’t going to take anymore. I had an idea that I would just get better and better and in some ways I did. As I sit here with my new glasses on and type this and reflect on some of the best memories of my life, I find that its not so hard to think about the future. Master Joan still has an uncanny ability to relay information in a special way and meet me half way based on where I want my art to be and to pull out newer versions of the martial artist I am striving to be. Older. Wiser. Seasoned. Now in a bespectacled sort of way. Now I’m looking at the broader scope of things with a new vision.
As a martial artist you have to constantly refine what you are to keep going. As we age, the fire is still there but the body responds differently. The task is then set before us on how to continue to forge ourselves and to forge ahead. Its honing your art to the best of your ability. Honing may involve tweaking or modifications but not so much as to make it unrecognizable. I’m 46 and that jumping-foot-slapping-crescent kick in our snake form needs a different kind of attention where previously all I was trying to do was jump higher each time. This is why Shaolin Kempo is such a versatile and alive art. Its adaptable to everyone’s body and physical location in life. I could take this opportunity to launch into why it works and how its different than anything else going. But I don’t want to compete with anyone else. I’ll leave debating to the internet trolls. But I will say my new found dedication to practicing has kept me off social media for the most part. I spend a lot more time doing than watching what others do. I spend more time contemplating than listening to others rant and rave about their accomplishments and goals. I spend more time working on movement that spending time in stagnation. I spend more time working on my material than listening to someone explain their expertise. As part of my pursuit I try to engage in things differently. I engage in conversations differently. Other than this blog, I don’t really communicate on social media, which has been one of the best decisions I’ve made. As I said in one of my last blogs, its easy to become distracted with social media and even worse…it can be dangerous to the point of turning everyone into zombies. This blog allows me to say what seems important for our martial community. You don’t need to see my closet. Or my new car. Or see the aftermath of a loved one’s illness. My mentor isn’t on there everyday announcing what she did that day. She just does it (shameless Nike comment).
So the point here is, whatever “it” is that improves your life, look at ways to make it truly yours. There’s only one you. You are the only one that can do things the way you do it. On a side note…about 2 years ago I was sitting in church and the pastor said something during the sermon. I cant remember if it was a quote or not but here goes…”God has given all of us gifts and how you choose to use those gifts is your gift to Him”. Hopefully you’re a believer and can relate to this statement. If you aren’t a believer…think about it for a moment. Do you really and truly believe you were created to accumulate “likes” or “reactions” from folks you’ve never met. Does it truly matter?? Take a moment and breathe into where you are at this moment. Breath is life. This is where this ends for today. I have to get outside and work on my Shaolin Kempo Snake form. Please take a moment and let me know where you stand in the comments of the blog.
I’d love to hear about your Shaolin Kempo.