Back in the old days, after work or on the weekends, people sat together in the yard and talked and played music for hours. They did it because they liked to do it. They didn’t need a psychologist to tell them it was good for them. They didn’t have an ambition to perform somewhere, or be famous, or to be great at it, although some of them were. They just liked to play. It made them feel, after a long day’s work, like they had their own life. They played to be who they really were.
Martial arts are like that, in a way. We train to be the kind of people we really are.
We like to move, with energy and skill. Once you are used to it it feels great and that feeling of being energized, alive and alert, stays with you, whatever you are doing. We are the kind of people who like to stay in shape. Everybody knows it makes you look better and feel better. You are healthier too.
We like to get together with strong, purposeful, like-minded people who like a challenge, and who know how to work together. There is more to life than staying safe and doing as you’re told.
We train because we enjoy training.
It might sound trivial but it is not. People feel they need to justify training by the pursuit of extrinsic rewards – health, fitness, safety, to protect and serve, for competition, rank, group membership, personal identity, special knowledge and experiences, notoriety, business success, and others. Those can be good. But doing something as an expedient makes you unsettled, and it keeps you dissatisfied. There’s a time and a place for that. But it’s not good all the time.
We train because it makes us feel alive. Because it’s something worth doing, something you can rely on. Because it feels good to do something hard.
Post and photo by Jeffrey M. Brooks, Copyright © 2020