Hey everyone! I have some good news today. I am very pleased to announce ikigaiway.com’s first partner – Mokuso Martial Arts.
I’ve been on the lookout for good, quality companies to work with on the site. When I discovered Mokuso I was excited because they place quality at the very top of their priorities. I’ve always been a quality-over-quantity type of guy (example: the value of one hard earned black belt over 6 wonky ones), so Mokuso is a welcome member.
It has been my policy on this website to put content and user experience above everything else. But if I am able to find and work with partners that provide valuable services to my readers, I believe everybody wins. Personally I am able to spend more time on the website, you get special deals and access to great products, and Mokuso gets business from some of the top martial artists on the web.
I’d like to tell you just a bit about the company, and also let you in on a deal they are running specifically for readers of ikigaiway.com.
Mokuso is a Japanese term for meditation, especially when practiced in the traditional Japanese martial arts. Mokuso (pronounced “moh-kso”) is performed before beginning a training session in order to “clear one’s mind”, very similar to the zen concept of mushin.
The company, which is a private family business targeting budoka in Canada, USA, Great Brittan and The Netherlands, focuses only on the best Japanese dogi and obi available on the market. Only the brands that meet their exacting specifications are sold. All dogi and obi can be fully personalized and tailored.
About the Store Owner
Chris has been practicing several karate-do and karate-jitsu styles for almost 25 years. He also practiced Judo, aikido, taijutsu and kenjitsu for several years. Chris has burned through a lot of different gi’s and a lot of different brands. None held up the way he had hoped. Eventually he went on the hunt for a better manufacturer, one that put personal stake in their product and didn’t rely on child labor. His search took him to Japan where he located Tokyodo International, a small but passionate company that created great quality items at reasonable cost.
How to Get a Personalized Dogi and Obi
In order to get the most out your uniform, you have to ask yourself a few questions:
1. What type of training are you in? If you are doing kumite competitions, a heavy dogi is not desirable. If you are a frequent kata performer, you will want the heavier gi with more feedback.
2. What kind of material do you prefer? Traditionally, dogi are made of 100% cotton. These days, many quality cotton mixes are available. High-end dogi are made of a cotton and rayon blend, whereas lighter dogi with the same quality as heavy weight dogi are made from a special designed polyfiber. Even when just looking at 100% cotton: many qualities are available to choose from.
3. What is your level? A beginner in martial arts might not want to invest in an expensive cotton and rayon blend dogi. Advanced budoka on the other hand will prefer a heavier dogi because it keeps its shape better and will last for a longer time.
4. Do you want a standard size or a tailored dogi? Tailored dogi fit the best, since the length of the pants, sleeves and jacket can be customized to the practitioner’s measurements. Getting the right measurements can take some time and effort.
5. Next is the embroidery. Lots of budoka like to have their name embroidered on their dogi or obi. Different options such as colour, font type and language are available to choose from.
After an order is placed, Chris confirms the size of the dogi and obi and double checks the measurements. Then the order is forwarded to Japan, where the dogi and Obi are created, mostly by hand. Chris follows the whole process to make sure the product is being created according to the ordered specifications. As soon as the products are mailed by EMS, Chris informs the customers of the expected arrival date.
If you are looking to upgrade your current dogi or obi, Mokuso is here to make sure your new product will exceed your expectations. And … At the sharpest possible prices. Mokuso is able to provide the best price-to-quality ratio on the Internet.
Special note for Ikigai members: Use “Ikigai” as coupon code to receive 5% off your first order.
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Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book called “Outliers: The story of Success“, and in it he suggests that people require roughly 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in anything.
I wonder if that applies to martial arts as well?
Check out Gladwell’s short, 4 minute explanation on his theory:
Basically Gladwell suggests that in society there are certain outliers, or those people/places/things that exist on the fringes of the norm. One notable outlier concept is that of the ‘true expert’, or a person that has achieved supernormal success in a particular field. To become an outlier Gladwell’s study shows that you need 10,000 hours of practice.
10,000 hours sounds like a lot, and it is. Let’s put it into perspective with an example.
If you train on average 8 hours a week for 52 weeks, you’ll achieve 416 hours a year.
If you keep up that pace consistently you’ll reach the 10,000 hour mark after about 25 years.
That’s a lot of years. Gladwell calculates that most dedicated musicians and artists practice their craft for about 3 hours a day. At that pace it would take about 10 years to hit the mark of mastery.
To calculate your own pace, figure out how many hours a week you train. Think ‘on average’ to balance out your heavy weeks with the weeks you go on vacation, etc (and remember you’re only lying to yourself ; ). Multiply that number by 52. Now divide 10,000 by your number and you’ll get your rough yearly estimate.
Implications for Martial Artists
For the sake of study, let’s accept the 10,000 hour rule and analyze how it effects our training. We all have to weigh our growth and expectations in contrast to our week-to-week training. 2-3 nights a week at 2 hours at a pop is going to lead us toward the 25 year long haul as opposed to the (seemingly) short 10 year stint.
But, I also think we should feel encouraged. There are very few activities that inspire as much dedication and long-term commitment as martial arts. If you play in a slow pitch softball league no one really cares about how often you practice. If you want to pwn noobs in World of Warcraft you are on your own (with perhaps a little harassment from your guild). In martial arts you have an entire support network to encourage and help you.
Another more internal factor is illustrated by Gladwell during one of his speeches. He states that in a recent study scientists tried to figure out why Asian students generally do better in mathematics then western students. They checked genetics and biology but nothing significant could be found. What was truly telling was the result of one particular experiment.
In the experiment, students from both backgrounds were given very difficult mathematic equations, very much beyond what they were accustomed to. The western students gave up and moved on after 1-2 minutes. The Asian students had to be stopped after the 15 minute mark and told to move on.
Patience, persistence, perseverance – these are the qualities the Asian students had instilled in them, and are also the most important factors in determining a person’s success in the martial arts.
I’m sure you can see where I’m going here – traditional martial art training builds the human qualities that are paramount to success.
Wait A Minute! I See Holes In Your Plot!
Am I suggesting that if a person trapses into the dojo for 10,000 hours they are guaranteed success in both martial arts and life??
No. In fact, I think that would be far far from the truth.
Consider this – people generally work 8 hours a day at their job 5 days a week. That would make them masters within 5 years.How many people do you know that are masters at their job? How many people do you know that are even competent at their job after 5 years? Conversely, how many total idiots do you know who don’t belong anywhere near their job?
There’s a lot more to it than hours.
Smart Practice is as Paramount as Lots of Practice
If a musician plays “Smoke on the Water” all day every day, he’s never going to become Jimmy Page. If a martial artist spars everyday, he’ll never become Funakoshi Gichin. The reason why is because there is such a thing as smart practice.
What we become is a direct result of what we aspire to be. The 10,000 hours in question isn’t just about rote repetition. It also encompasses the research we do and the constant effort to improve our learning.
Let me put it another way. In real life or via youtube – have you ever watched a martial artist who has claimed 40+ years of experience, but turns out to be terribly unimpressive and unnatural? The reason why is because most of that person’s 40 years has probably been spent in TALKING about how great he/she is rather than practicing. They also very likely trained themselves into a box during their first 5 years and just sold that same package over and over again without any substantial branching out, diving inward, and improving.
This concept of smart training also differentiates what I consider expertise over mastery. I’ve met many expert martial artists, but very few masters. I personally think the 10,000 hours can deliver expertise, but it takes something more to achieve mastery.
One Bottom Line – Effort over Genius
Some martial artists are naturals who can make things look frustratingly easy. However, according to Gladwell, more often than not outliers combine modest innate talent with luck and extreme amounts of work.
If you aren’t Bruce Lee by nature, don’t panic. You can be an expert too if you really want it.
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I need to apologize right off the bat for the time I’m about to steal from you. I’ve had some thick posts lately so I decided to lighten things up with a game.
“Spear and Katana” is surprisingly good. Usually these games are rather mindless and get dull quickly, but this one actually involves some skill and strategy.
Now enough talk – become a samurai and lead your troops to almost certain destruction. One last note – after you’re done let everyone know what level you got to or if you will be joining me amongst those who have conquered the game!
Or CLICK HERE TO PLAY. Shoutout goes to Martial Art Daily for first finds.
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