This is just a quick post to push another great post from Wayne Muramoto over at The Classic Budoka. His insights into training, martial arts, and the experience in general are always welcome to me and help give me an extra boost. I highly recommend him.
His latest post, all about self discovery and pushing yourself to learn, mirror some other interesting points made by Jesse Enkamp in his Karate Nerd (tm) emails from KaratebyJesse. You need to explore not only what you do, but why and how. Learn the history, study the past masters in your style and in related styles. What did they look for? What are you looking for? Everything is a benefit to your training and in the end to the product: You.
I am continually impressed by the knowledge and persistance of others, over and above what I have been able to accomplish. It gives me hope and motivation to reach my own potential, and I hope that those interested in The Way will also find these people to be equally insightful.
Summary of what I have learned from these recent posts/emails:
Push yourself once in a while. Find some aspect of training you are weak on (just finding it can be tough, we all have blinders on) and work on it. Learn something you didn't know previously. Improve something you had as your worst skill. Continue to improve.
I know this is corny, but I recall an anime/manga in which one of the protagonists said he found a way to beat a clone of himself - improve one iota. Our goal as martial artists, over all other people, is to improve ourselves. We must strive to be better than we were last year, last month, last week, yesterday, an hour ago, one minute ago. If we can make that small improvement, than the effort was no misspent and we are making progress. Whenever you feel you are on a plateau, recall what you could do before the training session...have you gotten one small benefit? Then relax and be glad - 99.9% of people out there aren't even trying for that much. Don't be too hard on yourself in regards to any lack of progress.
This is starting to become a favourite saying of mine, and a bit of a catchphrase, but The Way is in the Training.