So, I teach martial arts.
Big deal, right?
Well, I think it is and here’s why…
One of my favorite programs as a kid was called “The Master”. It was about an old ninja master who left the school he was associated with in Japan under less than ideal circumstances to find his daughter. Along the way he took an apprentice under his wing and did battle with an enemy from his former school. I can remember watching in awe of the beauty, grace and power with which they moved and I remember thinking “I want to be able to do that!” I was also enamored with the archetype of the “wise old master” who imparts his technique and philosophy to his students.
Well, 30 or so years later and here I am.
I see the journey of today’s martial artist parallels the path of “The Master”. We are all searching for something and along the way we have opportunities to impart knowledge and there are ‘enemies’ to defeat. That is pretty much the story of life. Overcome challenges in the search for meaning and purpose and pass on what we have learned.
That is why I do what I do.
At AKKA our goal is to inspire our students to aspire to be the best they can be. The martial art we teach is a tool to do just that. It provides a curriculum where the student is challenged at each level with more sophisticated motion so as to strengthen and hone the skills of commitment, perseverance, discipline and dedication. Self-defense is a benefit of the training as far as learning how to effectively dispatch the attacker on the street that you haven’t met yet. But it moves beyond that. The technique you learn to deal with someone on a physical level is a metaphor to how we can learn to deal with others on emotional and intellectual levels as well. In other words as we improve our physical self-defense skills we learn about and improve our mental self-defense skills. As, well…to perpetuate our training model requires changes in what we call ‘moral conduct’. I am not speaking of morality in the classic sense but of living and behaving in ways that allow a practice of our martial art for a lifetime. This means creating good habits and replacing bad ones so as to improve in the areas of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.
The most rewarding thing about being a teacher of the martial arts is to come alongside a student in their struggles (karate and otherwise) and guide them through the challenges and watch as they fight to overcome their specific challenges (karate and otherwise) and cultivate a ‘whatever it takes’ attitude to achieve their goals (karate and otherwise). For them to realize that they are capable of so much more than they thought and that if they apply the effort it takes to learn our art and apply that into the other areas of their life then they are assured success.
Take care and see you in class…