I have a student that comes in twice a week to let me practice my combinations on and I feel very fortunate to be able to do this…especially since its 2 more times a week than I used to. We tend to have some lengthy conversations about different types of martial arts and in a lot of ways its a good outlet for me to gain more insight because when I speak about art it solidifies theories, concepts, and so on. At least it seems to anyway. Its another way of thinking about things. So, here I am thinking about the spotlight of it all. I’m sure we can all think of a celebrity martial artist or one that famous in his or her own right. In this day and age martial arts for the average person tends to bring up images of MMA. Which is kind of a mixed bag depending on who you talk to. Some folks are die hard about it…really die hard. They can tell you over fighter in every weight class forward and backward. Their stats. Their personal lives. Their shoe size. To each their own. I like watching the UFC. It can be entertaining. Some of the athletes carve out their own brand and are knowledgeable salesmen in terms of hyping fights and events…I’m sure you can name a few. As I said I like it, but if you’ve seen 5 fights…you have seen them all. Ground or stand up take your pick. I try to make it a point to watch Alexander Gustafsson because of my Swedish ancestry and he hails from Sweden. But that’s pretty much where it stops. A lot of these fighters claim to be the best in the world and with the pressure to do well so they can stay employed, they often go to great lengths to make sure they win. A lot of them are good and some are even perhaps great. But greater than who?
They are competing with fighters who are just like them. Which can be fun to watch with a group of people, especially if each of those people provided finger food for said get together (a guy from church brought homemade sliders once and they rocked!). Its the same thing watching a movie or t.v show in that you see a finished product of choreography and some thrill seeking attention craving celebrity is caught up in some outlandish plot by the antagonist’s choosing to take over the world or in fact take over a martial arts school or somewhere in between. Good for them. In each of these scenarios (MMA or movies) folks are being touted as the best ever. Which is completely false. Its not this blogger’s intention to start an argument with anyone about the sacredness of an actor’s credentials in his rise for BJJ stardom or Kyokushin destiny. I just merely want to point out that besides the above statements being entirely laden in pure opinion it is purely possible that none of these people are the best ever at what they’re doing. There, I said it. Its not that I really care what others think about on this topic. The fun for me is actualizing that somehow somewhere there is someone training for the absolute thrill of it all. They are doing it because they want to. Not for some prize or some superficial reward. Here’s another cool aspect…these mystery creatures that seemingly by our glamorous one way standards never see the light of day because they are practicing their art for the essence of it all. For the sake of doing. No movie. No belt. No scantily clad magazine cover. No lights. No cameras. Maybe it means something else to them. Maybe it means tears. Maybe it means sweat. It might mean ragged worn out clothing combined with the movements of poetic refinement. Just doing. I firmly believe their are martial artists in this world that would blow everyone away and don’t care anything about being recognized. They don’t like awake in bed at night with grand schemes and dojo dreams of magically franchised aspirations. Right now there is most likely someone on the other side of the world working on a form. Working on a technique. Repeating it over and over and over without talking about how great they are over and over and over. It could be a monk who’s feiyue’s are shredded and falling off their feet and the worn out concrete or it could be your neighbor that is two houses down from you. When was the last time you practiced something for nothing materialistic in return? Everything happens in good time. For the love of just moving? We take so much for granted in this world. Our health being one…a big one. The art of moving. The act of moving. Some folks can’t move so well. Some folks are amputee’s. Some have a debilitating disease. Some struggle internally. Everyday is a gift. a lot of us are breathing. Walking. Talking. 2 arms. 2 legs. 10 fingers. 10 toes. This is by no means bragging…I practiced for 3 1/2 hours today and I feel a little guilty because I feel like I could have done more. I could’ve fit in one more blocking system. One more form. One more combination. One more breathing exercise. One more punch. Maybe one more punch. I don’t want to have any regrets. Regret that I couldn’t walk away from the remote. Regret that I couldn’t walk away from the couch. Regret that I wasted the time God gave me to be simply better. Simply. There’s a healthy jealousy for the seclusion of the undiscovered “star”. Its something to reach for. Its the essence that could be yours. It could be mine. The fear of being average keeps pushing me. What pushes you? One day we’ll wake up and there wont be any time left to push. Even the tai chi short form will be a distant memory. But, there’s here and there’s now. They’re waiting.
Its your Shaolin Kempo.