Seasons greetings. We are a scant few days away from Christmas, and that means it’s time to get those last minute wishes into the folks in charge. As martial artists, we have only one mythological character to be concerned about – Martial Arts Santa.
Unlike his cousin Regular Santa, Martial Arts Santa isn’t concerned about your religious denomination. Instead he’s been watching your sidekicks and checking his list to see when your last promotion was.
Now, during this most joyous of seasons, I ask MASanta to grant me some holiday wishes.
Wish #1: Make the New Karate Kid Disappear
I’m sure many of you are aware, but there is a new Karate Kid in the works. If MASanta has the ability to visit every house in the world in a single night, certainly he can make one upcoming movie disappear.
One of the goals of the holidays is to promote peace on Earth, right? Well what better way than to avoid the rage and angst of martial artists all over the planet that grew up with the original Karate Kid series? This one seems like a no brainer.
Wish #2: Bring Bruce Lee and Musashi Back to Life and Make Them Fight
Man, what an epic showdown that would be! They’d be kinda like zombies, so we could pit them against each other in a variety of ways.
First, I’d have them go at it open-hand. No tricks. No weapons.
Second, I’d let them pick a weapon of choice. I imagine Bruce Lee would use the nunchaku while Musashi would use a katana.
Third, I would toss them both Lirpa and let things go down just like this:
Wish #3: Settle Once and For All Those Mandatory Martial Arts Questions
Every martial arts blog and forum seems to inevitably run into the same couple of questions. Things like:
1. What’s the best style?
2. Does chi exist?
3. Do no-touch knockouts exist?
4. How many fights end on the ground?
5. Is MMA a real martial art?
6. etc. etc.
My request to MASanta would be to make a list and just answer these questions definitively. If anybody questions him, MASanta would then have the authority to use his secret holiday-figurehead style to wipe out the offending parties.
I’ve never pondered what it would be like getting stabbed by a sharpened candy cane…and I don’t think I want to find out any time soon.
Wish #4: Bring me an official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle (BB Gun)
with a compass in the stock, and this thing which tells time.
Wish #5: Grant Me Ten More Wishes
What? MASanta isn’t a genie? FINE. Then I guess i’ll wish for a quick recovery for all of our martial arts brethren who are currently dealing with injury. Also, continued success to all of my readers who have been generous enough to stop by from time to time!
So what’s your wish? Get it into MASanta before it’s too late!
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Got an hour?
Kyoshi Bill Hayes recently clued me in on this interview he did and I would love to pass the savings on to you.
For those of you who might not know him, here is a bit of background info about Kyoshi Hayes. First of all, he looks like this:
Secondly, he was a marine in the Vietnam war and was stationed on Okinawa at various points throughout his career. Studying directly under Eizo Shimabukuro, Sensei Hayes became one of the most respected practitioners of Shobayashi Shorin Ryu. Although my training time with him has been far too brief, his teaching and writing has really been an influence on my study of the martial way.
The interview I’m linking you to is between Sensei Hayes and Hanshi Jessie Bowen (whom I do not know personally). It contains some really great conversation regarding kata training, visualization, martial science, wellness, and much more.
If you would like to streamline your listening a bit, cut into the interview at the 19 minute mark. Everything before that is cursery background info and settling into the convo.
I’d also like to mention that Sensei Hayes wrote a fantastic article for Black Belt Mama during her Admired Martial Artists Month (what a great group of writers that was 😉
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Marge Simpson: “Homer, is this another one of your get rich quick schemes?”
Homer Simpson: “No, no…this scheme is SURE to make us rich. And quick!”
One of two things is going to happen in this post – either I’m going to reveal some fantastic money making secrets, or I’m going to use ‘getting rich’ as an analogy for training. You take a guess.
There are all kinds of ‘brilliant’ ideas people create to get rich quick. The most famous is the pyramid scheme. These ill-conceived concepts crop up because it can be very arduous building up money. Heck, I know if I could get $100,000 tomorrow I’d look into it. It’s also the reason why we play the lottery (and ignore the mathematical improbability of winning).
Sadly, the same is true when it comes to martial arts. Instead of financial pyramid schemes we see promotional pyramid schemes, where groups of ‘experts’ get together and promote themselves to extremely high ranks. I’m still waiting to hear about the world’s first 20th dan…it’s bound to happen. More harmful are the schemes where instructors ripoff their student body through inflated monthly fees, testing fees, belt fees, etc etc.
But lets focus more on the training side of things.
At home I’ve got this gigantic glass jar where I keep all of my loose change. You’ve probably got something similar, yes?
I’ve put a ton of coins in there and have been storing up for years and years. Despite that, the damn jar looks virtually empty!
Also, the bb gun hole wasn’t my fault.
It was a great day when I first realized I could no longer see the glass bottom of the jar because I had saved up enough change. But since then, I’ve gone on autopilot. I no longer really watch the level of the coins rise because it’s such slow progress. I know I’m putting money in, but to constantly fret over how much (or how little) is in there would be wasted energy.
Martial arts training can be very similar. How many workout sessions can you think of where you really thought to yourself, “man – I’ve improved by leaps and bounds today!” If you’re anything like me, those occasions are few and far between. Most of the time training seems like a struggle against futility, improving skills so slowly that it barely seems like any progress is being made at all.
At first, I watched my progress in karate like a hawk. I was really pleased about things I could do and opined about things I couldn’t. But since then, I’ve gone on autopilot. I’ve simply done my best when either stepping onto the dojo floor or exploring martial arts on my own. The journey in itself is becoming more and more the goal.
So to you I say keep dropping that change in the jar! I know it doesn’t seem like a lot. Whether you’re in top form and toss in fifty cents each time, or if you’re struggling and only have five cents, remember – you’re building the total and one day you’ll take a peek at the jar and wonder where all that money came from!
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