Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Martial Artist - How long does it take? How to go about it?

I am often asked - How many days/ months to complete training? - by anxious parents who wish to see their kids wearing a black belt or people who watch some martial art movie and decide to join a martial art class. To them all I say is it has taken me 25 years and am still learning. Martial Science is like education can a 3 year old become a Doctor or an Engineer in just a few months? Even after completing his education and becoming say a Doctor if one does not keep on learning and upgrading he will not be a good Doctor. Similarly it is with Martial Science too.

It takes a lot of discipline, devotion, dedication, effort, perseverance, determination, sacrifice and lots more.  It is the study of something which in no time completely takes over your life - the way you walk,  talk, think,  behave and lots more. It is very very demanding. No wonder at any authentic martial art school say if 30 students join at a time, by the time a few years go by there may be only 5 or lesser left from that batch. Many give up mid way not because they are weak or they cant just because they decide to GIVE UP. 

In most activities you can learn something but may not decide to be a professional  at it. However to  be a martial arts practitioner you have to decide to be a professional or you can not train or improve at it . That does not mean give up your job or education. It means be committed to it completely with your every breath. To be a martial arts practitioner one has to train everyday not with the mindset to stay fit or be healthy but with the focus to better our self than we were a few hours back. Every technique is practiced 100's of times repeating it again and again and again till the body just can not move anymore. This is the level  of  focus one needs to come close to understanding the wonderful world of martial arts. It is a path that once taken properly will last a complete lifetime and yet will not be enough to master it. For - Perfection is a mirage always visible but never reachable. 

If one is ready to commit to the very high level of dedication required then the first and most important step is to find a true martial artist to teach you. I have been blessed with wonderful teachers and always will have complete respect for them. Selecting a proper teacher is vital so that the right guidance and direction is given. Please do not go for teachers who promise belts or show pictures of fancy flying kicks or breaking things. Tamashiwara ( breaking things) or jumping kicks are part of martial art but that is not the only thing in martial arts. Most youngsters fall for them as they hope to copy their favorite film stars and do the same tricks. Search for someone who will only talk of training. Talk to the students in the class. Once joined in a class just train and sweat and sweat and sweat more. Do not bother which belt you have or which you may or not get that does not matter. What matters is can you say that you have improved in the last few hours or not. In a few years of training you will notice improvement in health, higher concentration levels, great inner and external strength and lots more. Consistent training for more years will lead to a change in the spiritual levels too. The practitioner is always in a kind of state of meditation. Always pondering and thinking about techniques or training methods. To give an example -  Master Yamaguchi a legend in Karate had developed spiritually to a level where he could catch any lie spoken by anyone. It has been said that the Japanese government use to request him to be present while interrogating spies or people where the matters were of serious nature and he has never been wrong in catching the lie.

The journey may be a tiring and testing one but not taking the journey will not take you anywhere either. 

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