Thread: Dead end?
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Old 10-25-2013, 08:51 AM   #19
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 3,183
Re: Dead end?

Anonymous User wrote: View Post
It's hard not to get labeled as a hotheaded,impatient beginner.I guess I just am.

One thing that also bothers me is that he doesn't seem to openly acknowledge my progress.I think he does but I would like to have some sort of evaluation for myself.
Let me tell you a story about the karate dojo I used to train at. This was before I moved over 100 miles away, where there were no good karate dojos (that's how I ended up in aikido). In this dojo, everyone starts in a one-month beginner class...and in this beginner class, you "learn" probably 80% of all the techniques you will ever do in karate. I say "learn" because after a month, almost everybody will at most have learned how to grossly mimic the movements, and absolutely everybody will be missing important elements of the techniques. As you go on in training, you also learn kata, starting with the first, heian shodan, and there are many more to follow. You learn heian shodan during that beginner class. After that month, you're allowed to join the regular classes, which (at this dojo) always contained a substantial percentage of yudansha with many years of training.

The thing that really struck me in those classes was how these yudansha would practice the very basic techniques. We did them every class: the same kihon we had learned in that first month. In fact, we spent a considerable amount of time on them. And we did kata, always starting with heian shodan. Watching these yudansha train, I saw them do the things that a white belt "learns" on day one and never show the least sign of boredom or annoyance or impatience. They still found meaning in what they were doing...and if, on a particular day, they weren't feeling it especially deeply, they still had the discipline to apply themselves, confident in the belief that the meaning would come if they did so. They were people of character, and they made a big impression on me. I think about them when times are hard on the mat. The meaning, the epiphany, the "aha", the glow of satisfaction...those are things that you earn. Like the view from a remote mountaintop, the only way to really get it is to climb there yourself.

So, you're impatient to progress, and you want recognition. Unfortunately, in budo training impatience is not rewarded, and praise is doled out very sparingly (if at all). The more you try to rush into what you think of as "advanced techniques", the more you'll be sent back to the beginning; the more you fish for recognition, the more you'll be told "Just keep training." You have to be your own feedback barometer, and you have to find your own reasons for training within yourself, not in recognition from others. And if you don't find it in yourself, then leave. There's no shame in not doing something that's not a good match for you.
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