The Difference Between Doing Karate and Being a Martial Artist
Talked with a guy the other day. Call him Frank.
Frank had made a commitment to participate in
Now, complaining. Not getting anything out of the
experience, he claims.
Fact: his participation was at about 60-70% of what
it should have been. By his own admission.
Frank’s analysis: his participation was subpar
because he wasn’t getting anything out of the experience.
My analysis: He wasn’t getting anything out of
the experience because his participation was subpar.
Over the years I have seen numerous students come through the
doors looking for that external stimulus that will ultimately facilitate
positive change in their lives. As a teacher I am a curator of this
particular skill set we call Kenpo Karate. In passing on these skills
I try to convey a PASSION for the art that ultimately comes from
a LOVE of training.
I have said before that there are only two things a student must
do to achieve Black Belt. Come to class and practice.
However, this is a very superficial analysis of the process and I
will not go into detail on the psychological and emotional aspects
of training except to say that, at some point, you gotta LOVE what
what you are doing.
I am speaking of the difference between doing karate and being a
martial artist. The difference between what you do and who you are.
It happened for me at my 3rd Brown Test. I was doing Boxing Form Kata
and it was as if the room went dark and time didn’t exist. I was not conscious
of myself doing the kata and as soon as it began, the moment was over; I was
done with the form and we moved on with the test. Externally, I doubt anything
looked out of the ordinary. But, inside myself the experience was surreal.
I would call what happened a “spiritual” experience from the perspective
that, for a moment, I was not doing the kata…the kata was using me to
express itself. It was that moment that the LOVE of training manifested itself
in a particular expression of martial skill. That experience was a point of
enlightenment for me. No, I am not claiming to have some higher level of consciousness.
I can be as dull as the next person. As, Dave Kovar puts it, I had a
“brief moment of clarity” and it was then that I realized karate is not just
something I do…it is a part of who I am. I am a martial artist.
I am not speaking of owning or running a school. This was well before
that opportunity was even a blip on my radar. I am speaking about the
attitude with which I approach training.
Come to class and practice. Is that enough?
That depends on HOW we come to class and practice!
It is how we APPLY our self between bow in and bow out AND off the deck
that determines our level of success.
Being like the example above, subpar participation yields subpar performance
and manifests with subpar results. To get the most from our training you
must give the most to our training.
There has to be a LOVE for training born out of a NEED to achieve.
LOVE it enough to come to class rather than stay home.
LOVE it enough to practice instead of laying on the couch watching TV.
LOVE it enough to make up missed lessons.
LOVE it enough to stay on track with rank promotion.
LOVE it enough to do whatever it takes to make it to Black Belt.
And this is a LEARNING process. The LOVE I am speaking of is NOT emotional.
It is experiential. And the ONLY way to learn it is to SHOW UP and give your BEST!
There will be highs and lows, good time and tough times. Enjoy the good and push
through the tough. Anything worth doing takes TIME and EFFORT.
LEARN to LOVE training. Will it always be easy…NO! But in the end, when you tie
that Black Belt around your waist IT WILL BE WORTH IT!!!
See you in class…Mr. Burt