For me martial arts is a three weekly lesson in humility.
I had a tournament today. In hindsight – getting up before 7am on a sunday morning (especially when it’s so cold!) to be at a martial arts tournament in Windsor doesn’t seem like such a brilliant idea… but you get that!
I performed well – my Sifu (the chinese term for the japanese sensei) was happy with me… a “personal best” – I performed a difficult Kata – remembered everything and fixed the “issues” (straight side kick, strong blocks, aligned cat stance etc) that were most important.
But at the end of the day though sometimes it feels like I’m in the special olympics! I try really hard – train hard – do my best…. but I’ll never be a really talented martial artist – a competitive fighter… I just do my best.
I started way too old – last year in fact – at age 37… and I never played much sport as a child or young adult – things have come much later for me…
I’m flexible, I’m strong – but it’s hard to imprint body memory – to learn Kata – it takes me a long time at times … and sometimes I get pretty confused! I’m planning to compete in sparring later this year (to have the experience) – and that will be interesting. But of course at the end of the day point’s sparring is a sport and not a *real* fight – it’s semi-contact… but still – I could end up with a few bumps and bruises – even more than from training! Hopefully I won’t ever need to experience genuine conflict – I prefer everyone to know what’s going on and consent to the experience 😉
It’s been an interesting experience not being good at something – usually I’m talented or I give up… particularly in non-sport activities – though going to the gym or even yoga is such a nothing experience – it’s not about competitng – or even pushing yourself to make a grading and so hasn’t captured my imagination… there’s no standard to measure myself by. Which is why I do love Kung Fu – the fact that there is always a goal – something to work towards…
So I guess I might be a martial artist – a crap one sometimes – but I do train hard – pay attention and do my best.
Even if that means a third place at the Winter Nationals….
But you know what – how many people don’t ever put themselves out there? Never try… Never get up too early and drive out to nowhere to do their best…