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Old 11-12-2013, 10:13 AM   #38
Keith Larman
Dojo: AIA, Los Angeles, CA
Location: California
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,604
Re: I Don't Care That Much

Pfft... I do my best whenever I'm on the mat. I do my best when I have any free time by myself at home. When I teach, I do my best to show whatever I can and communicate whatever I can. Period. The rest, well, that's up to someone other than me and with respect to them, well, there ain't much I can do about that part of the equation.

FWIW I also get a monthly or so random contact from someone who wants to know "the secrets" of polishing swords. Or wrapping sword handles. Or whatever. I give the same answer -- lots of time, lots of sweat, lots of study. No secrets. And nothing someone can tell you in an email or even standing in front of you will get you anywhere other than maybe a millimeter further along that path. The rest involves walking it. Doing it. Getting training. Doing. Studying. Thinking. Making mistakes.

So do I spend much time answering specific questions from folk like this? Nope. Because no answer I give will be understood without all that other stuff they haven't done yet, even if they are willing to do the work. Once they've started doing the work, well, that's another issue. But still there's always the question of whether someone knows enough yet to even begin to understand the questions they ask. Or maybe more accurately, how more often than not the questions they ask are the very things they should be least concerned with as the unasked ones are often vastly more relevant.

So... Do you care about what you're doing? How much time does one who has spent decades honing skills devote to helping those who are trying to learn? How much time do they give to those who are just coasting? How much time do you give to dabblers?

Me, when I'm in the dojo my job is to teach to the best of my ability. And I try knowing full well there are those out there for whom the message will be missed. But I do my best. When it's the random guy contacting me out of the blue telling me I have a responsibility to share what I've worked so hard to learn because the world "needs" to retain this info and yet they're completely unable to understand answer? Nah, no time for that. I've got stuff to do...

So mixed feelings on my part. And it depends on context.

I'll also touch on one thing already mentioned -- we've seemingly moved from a world that views virtually everything as market based. Many seem to feel entitled to whatever they want simply because they've paid for something. Or want to know what it is they have to pay to get. Well, not everything works that way. And no one is entitled to anything. There are some things money can't buy. Sometimes it takes building trust and confidence. Sometimes it takes friendship. And quite frankly the things I've learned from some in the martial arts that were based more on a long-standing friendship turned out to be vastly the more valuable lessons of all.

And in saying that I realize I need to make a few phone calls to some old friends.


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