Three Wishes, Three Rooms
by Eddie Morales
Consider this: You want to learn martial arts, and you have three rooms to choose from, but you can only choose one room. Later, the other two rooms would be available, but only after a 3 to 5 year wait. Then and only then, can you enter freely. It is a choice you make alone. Which one would you choose?
In the first room, you can learn all kata's (pre-arranged set of movements) and techniques of all the older systems or of one particular system of your choice. Any instructor in that room would be willing to answer any and all questions you ask without hesitation. All of their wisdom would be on the table for your choosing.
In the second room, you can learn the history of martial arts and how it applies to yesterday and today’s society. You would also learn all the thoughts and theory that went into the development of martial arts.
In the third room you would enter, then line up and work on basic techniques for hours, where sweat would drop from your forehead but you are not allowed to wipe it off because it would demonstrate weakness to some or all depending on where you were training, (old tradition). You would feel the pain of pushing your body and mind to the limit and sometimes the defeat of not being able to continue because your body can no longer respond. You would also have an instructor positioning your hand, foot or body correctly, while standing next to you working his/her technique, allowing you the opportunity to imitate his/her form till you were proficient. The instructor, in a stern voice, will let you know if you are making a mistake but will help you embody the art in the most proficient manner. Is it an easy choice?
These “rooms” represent some of the choices every potential student is faced with inside different schools of thought, and since they have no prior training; it is a tough choice. What choice did you make? What choice are you living with?
In the first room, you could definitely walk out with a library of martial arts techniques and wisdom, a dream come true if you could retain all that knowledge. The only problem is you could not perform those techniques with any semblance of accuracy and power and I do not mean because you just learned them.
In the second room, you could walk out, match your wits with the best of martial arts minds, and have a foot to stand on. If you are into theory but not practice, then this could be your oasis. Wow think of the infinite possibilities! You could be recognized as the “Einstein of Martial Arts” so long as you never have to demonstrate physically.
The third room, of course, is one where a few would have to look at, maybe have a cup of coffee or a soda, discuss it with their friends until no one wants to listen anymore, and then ultimately just pull themselves together, open the door and enter. The crime in this analogy of thought is that room number three is the most precious and honored one, but the most avoided. It is the one room that will give you longevity strength, power, and accuracy even at the learning of a new technique. This is the room where all true martial artists live and breath in. The walls of this room are filled and built upon the spirit, blood and sweat of the warriors before you, wall papered with sincerity and honesty. Your heart and soul should be energized and fully engaged at the thought of a visit to this room.
Can you understand and feel where I am coming from? If you are not engaged in some form of basic practice on a continuing basis, those basics that are fundamental and at the very core of the system you practice, preach and teach like the gospel then you are NOT the best representation of your system.
If that does not matter to you and you are a legend in your own mind, fantastic and “more power to you”!
Personally I cannot see not working basics or to coin a phrase, “Not having time for that stuff”. Could you imagine taking your car in for a break inspection or a tune up, and have the mechanic tell you that your car does not need it because he does not have “time for that stuff”? Have you ever heard that phrase coming from an instructor, student or beginner?
If you have ever heard an instructor say this, please ask him to leave the martial arts, for all our sakes, because we get enough of a bad rap without these paper tigers, or do I mean fierce tiger (chuckle) giving us their legendary wisdom!
If a student ever speaks this way then he or she is on the wrong path, and should and could be corrected. Without basic practice, “You Have Nothing” and I do not care who you are! With a beginner or student, there is hope. With an instructor, there is no excuse.
Basic techniques demand regular practice, applied with as much concentration and focused effort as possible.
Power, speed and form must be drilled to become second nature no matter what system you practice so that when you need it, it is there and your body will flow like an automatic fighting machine.
If you are a beginner, choose room number three because you will be proud of your achievements as time passes. If you are an instructor then I will assume you live in the embodiment of room number three so more power to you.
Yours in Training and Sweat
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