Tuesday, September 8, 2009

On The Floor

During martial arts discussions, the conversation often turns to the "Why?" questions. Why did you start training and why do you continue? I wrote about this question in previous posts which can be found here and here.

I believe the "Why?" evolves over time. In a recent conversation, I asked the question..."Does it matter why?". If you look at the people in your own dojo, the reason they started training varies. They started on the path for all sorts of reasons such as self-defense, fitness or socialization. Some may have grown up in the 70' s and had the Bruce Lee poster on their bedroom wall. Parents take classes with their kids because it is something they can do together. People may start taking classes with friends and eventually become the last one remaining from the original group.

My reason for starting karate had nothing to do with self-defense or the desire to become a martial artist. I was a newlywed who was home alone several nights a week. I decided to join too. Prior to this, I had absolutely no interest in karate. It never crossed my mind.

Does it matter why I started? Are some reasons better than others? Perhaps the important point is that I continued. My husband will tell you he never thought I would last. I began training with no previous knowledge, expectations or preconceptions. Karate quickly became something I loved to practice. For me, that pretty much sums it up. I enjoy training, practice, teaching and learning.

When I am On the Floor....I am In the Moment. My thoughts and concerns are about the task at hand whether it be teaching, learning or training. It is the part of my day that belongs only to me.


Charleyhorse said...

Michele, originally at age eighteen I just wanted to engage in an exotic hobby that did not cost a lot of money but that would be very challenging. The candidates were: learning to fly, learning martial arts, learning to scuba dive. Only MA training satisfied all three criteria.

After I began training I couldn't for the life of me understand WHY I was submitting to such endless effort and frustration and calling it a hobby. I quit after two years and then entered the military instead and then I learned what hard work and frustration were really all about.

I re-entered MA training almost three quarters of a decade later because I was still looking for a hobby that was exotic, did not cost a lot of money, and was very challenging. Talk about coming full circle.

Now my primary reasons for training are health maintenance and for the ongoing challenge. As you point out I may have an entirely different set of reasons in the future. Good post.


Neal Martin said...

There is nothing to say that you should have particular resons for training. There is nothing wrong with training just for the love of it. I think we all, to some extent, train for the love of it anyway. Knowing why you are training and exactly what you want to get out of it tends to focus you that bit more though. For that reason I usually go into each session with an idea of what I want to get out of it. It just helps me focus better and improve quicker.

In saying that I think the biggest help to training is enthusiasm and giving it your all. Taking a deep interest in it really helps you engage more and thus improve quicker.

Good post.

Sensei said...

Why I started train karate? A million times I have posted this question. I never could answer with confidence. Only I know is that the answer does not go easily through the conscious motives, but is hidden deep in the subconscious. However, you're right Michele and Neal: not so important why, than how to continue and be a better man! So the question why deserves answer: Why not?

Michele said...

Charleyhorse: Thank you! I appreciate you sharing your story...interesting.

Neil: Thanks! You make a good point regarding focus and training.

Sensei: Thank you for your comments. I enjoyed reading your follow-up post on "Why?".

Hack Shaft said...

For me it wasn't why I started--it was why did I return.

I returned to finish what I'd started some 20-odd years before!

But...that decision would not have happened if we hadn't enrolled my daughter first.

Michele said...

Hack Shaft: Nice to hear from you! How are your knees?