Martial arts work ethic?
What does that mean in reality? Is it a question of having a determination to succeed at all costs or does it mean you are happy with self improvement at a steady slow pace?
It could be about a constant revaluation and revision of everything we do, not only in our martial arts but in life too. This means that you do not want to put all that effort into something that will not get you the results you want. For example if you want to defend yourself. If your training does not contain some realism aspects then how are you going to be able to dig deep when the shit hits the fan?
Do you set goals? I think this is so underestimated as you need to set goals otherwise it is just very easy to drift from one thing to another or just to be happy plodding a long. How many times have you been looking at posts of martial arts but not actually doing any practice. Suddenly you realise you are watching a dog on a surf board holding a monkey.How did that happen?
The problem with doing anything well or worthwhile is that it takes a lot of time, effort and determination. There is no getting around that. People are so ready to give up when things become a little difficult or hard work and this is when the student starts to drift or look for easy options as opposed to knuckling down and digging deeper. They will say that this style is bad or the teacher is rubbish. Their club is full of muppets and they will give you a myriad of excuses why they could not succeed.
Those who have been following me know that I have a love of the piano. Do I want to be a concert pianist? No, but I play the piano for an hour everyday and know that I am improving and can achieve the goal of becoming proficient. I might just want to play it for enjoyment without worrying about a result.
In martial arts the accepted aim or prize is to become a black belt but for me this grade has been so watered down that I equate it to a green belt in the old school of training (30 years ago!). That may be harsh but I think it is common knowledge for anyone who has been doing martial arts for a long time. Things are not the same now. Instructors want to keep the students coming as they are paying for their livelihood. Maybe they are more lenient on students now and let them get away with substandard learning. Also the fact of the student has far too much choice nowadays. This can become confusing or they just change styles when things get tough and difficult for them.
When I was younger I wanted to test myself against other people from different styles and associations. I would fight to prove to other people that I was was better than them. I worked very hard and gained my black belt. Even then I wanted to prove that I was still better than anyone else and wanted to beat up the higher grades who were third and fourth dans. Yes of course I now know that it was the wrong attitude to have and you are not in a competition with anyone. Having said that we do compare things with other things it is only human nature.
When you want something bad enough you should not let your discomfort, embarrassment, negativity, awkwardness or any other emotion or feeling stand in your way. When you accept that you will have these feelings you can then move forward towards your goals.
Keeping going everyone and don’t give up!
By GM Angelo Baldissone an eternal student of life
I would like to leave you with a quote that rings true;
‘’If you want to master the mind and remove your governor, you’ll have to become addicted to hard work. Because passion and obsession, even talent, are only useful tools if you have the work ethic to back them up.’’