I believe that all true Martial Artists share the goal of continued learning and sharing of knowledge. In such seemingly wild and crazy times it is important to remain true to certain values; Honor, Truth, Strength to defend what is Right, and Strength to stand against what is Wrong.
How Dare I Have a Bad Day!
A friend and teacher of mine does a free class for a group of people who are so called disadvantaged; Down’s Syndrome, many other issues, etc., well…. you get the point, and sometimes I’ve helped out.
So one day I’m having the proverbial bad day; missed a three foot putt, dog ate my homework, cutoff in traffic, nobody gets my sense of humor, etc. etc. etc. and I walk into the training center while this class is going on. Out of the blue come yells of my name, in a way which is sometimes hard to understand, along with big grins; they call me Kung Fu Guy. I have no clue as to why since I’ve never studied Kung Fu and the place they are at doesn’t teach it either; regardless, I like it. Long story short; they’re having fun and doing things some of us can’t even do. They are doing these things with physical and mental issues that you wouldn’t wish upon an enemy. They do these things like it is last time they will get to do them, and sometimes it is, with grins on their faces and big hearts. After a few hours, I leave the training center with a big grin on my face and thinking, “How Dare I Have a Bad Day!” and thank those folks for straightening me out. Respectfully ~ Master Mikeal 'Bear' Smith
A Warrior’s Mentality
You can physically train to be a martial artist and practice martial art philosophies in life but there is something within each of us that either prevents or allows us to actually apply, in reality, a warrior's mentality to physical actions; this allows us to walk through the proverbial "valley of death" or, as some would say, "today is a good day to die". Those without so called martial training can be warriors as well; try stopping a mother from protecting her children and most likely you will be facing a fierce warrior.
Note that the willingness to die is an attitude or mindset, not a desire, and is wasted if not used for an honorable cause or reason which is defined by each of us and by the morals by which we live.
A friend asks; “Can you be a good teacher, if you only have passion for your subject, and not your students?”
I say; “You have to remember; a teacher or Sensei (one who guides) will always be passionate or they will not last long or continue teaching. The student plays a major role with their own passion or desire to learn; students and teachers unknowingly seek each other out to create a passionate and symbiotic relationship. You can be a good technical teacher but without passion the essence of the subject will be lost. That goes back to the symbiotic relationship, or the lack of, which determines if the student teacher relationship continues. There are several requirements to be a ‘good’ teacher and passion for the subject and the student cannot be left out of the equation."
An Old School Thought
Being an 'Old School' kinda guy I’ve always enjoyed the fact that the majority of the Martial Arts adhere to a philosophical view which I live by and I also believe is dying out in other parts of our social world. The view is you should earn what you get on your own merits, sometimes along with guidance from others, and that there is only one “First” place, not awards just for showing up; we are not part of the collective tagging along for the ride.
When you have setbacks, as we all do, they are lessons for our future efforts and reminders of our individuality which is a precious part of our own being. I am thankful for teachers who have made me work hard and do things over rather than take my money and send me on my merry way with false, or at the very least weak, credentials. This may seem to be a harsh statement, but I hope that students of the Martial Arts realize that their teachers do not just teach, but rather give pieces of themselves to their students; this makes them, in part, a reflection of the teacher. Those pieces are valuable and should be handled with care, as they are not just pieces of one person but a combination of untold pieces of knowledge and honor passed down from all their past teachers and the teachers of the teachers. I will not disrespect those pieces passed on to me by giving them to others without being earned and I would hope that my students are honored to have earned something rather than it being given to them.
I consider myself very lucky to have found the Martial Arts and made them my life. I also consider it a blessing that I came upon, either by fate or design, some of the greatest training partners and teachers that one could hope for and I thank them for the honor of allowing me to be a part of their reflection. ~ Master Mikeal ‘Bear’ Smith
Copyrighted © by Mikeal F. Smith; All Rights Reserved.