Sorry I am not sure where to best put this, please move as needed.
As some people might have noticed. I have a very strong personality. I tend to make people mad with the bluntness of my arguments and the mindset of which I approach things. If you were unable to tell, I am not a religious person, I am a man of logic and science, and I have been that way only after being burned multiple times with trust in faith.
I started my path in the martial arts as a child, quit and started up again about 6 or 7 years ago. I tried really hard to have faith, but found I simply no longer have that capability. I tried to believe what I was told, but my mind would sit and work out the logic, research anatomy, talk to doctors, and scientists, seek out new information. According to my teachers this confused me, and kept me from learning the true martial arts. This approach was bad.
I was lucky to be introduced to MMA by my aikido instructor. It showed me something quantifiable. I was lucky he introduced me to the history of aikido, to books that helped me find the answers I was seeking so desperately. A hobby I tried to pick up for fun because a desperate pursuit of answers that often kept me awake at night, as much as any programming problem I might face in my day to day job. Simply put he helped me get my fun back.
I did have the thought of , if it is not from asia, it is not martial arts. I had the belief that if it was sport, it was not useful. And I desperately clung to the belief that size, strength, and physical attributes simply did not matter. Judo helped prove me wrong on the sport part. Bjj, helped prove me wrong on the asain part, and mma sparing helped prove me wrong on all accounts. Or maybe rather just refine those beliefs into something more realistic.
I found this forum in the mist of this change. I found a lot of insight here that I was looking for. I waited about a year to post. My first posts ironically came with my last 'offical' lessons in aikido. I went from 3 days a week, to 2 days, to 1 day, to when I could wake up on a saturday, to "hey, I'll meet you guys for breakfast after class". At the same time my bjj training and judo training were escalating to 6 days a week. And my vision was changing as well.
In the beginning, when I would go to a martial art class, I would be amazed at what I saw. Especially my first few aikido classes. I couldn't even understand what was happening to the students. I could not 'see' their balance, their mindset, their intent.
Now that is changed. I can watch a technique and see how the balance is set, where the escapes are, the mindset and intent of the uke and nage, etc. And now instead of wonderment, I think "How can I use this?" and I work though all the situations I am familiar with and how it can work. If I come up with one, I test it in my training. I also think "where are the flaws, what are the strengths?" and again I apraise the technique based on my current understanding. I take notes, keep a training log, save videos on the internet, consult my teachers(bjj, judo), friends(karate, mma) and mentors (aikido, japanese jj, boxing, mauy thai, and karate) and run drills in my off time. I'm sure my wife is sick of the "Honey, can you come down here so I can try this?" questions. If I don't see immediate possibility afor use, I shelve it and make a solid attempt to come back to it later.
I found this forum to fit int between the friend and mentor status. A place where I could find people with training from all over the world to listen to my ideas and feedback with their own ideas. Some of my ideas changed from posting here, some of my ideas solidified. This website, judoforum.com, and bullshido.net have all helped me understand what I was after, and what I was getting from my training.
I was talking to my old aikido teacher about martial arts a couple weeks ago. We were talking philosophy and training concepts and about his teacher. Now, I know he has the goal of returning me to aikido, because he really feels it is the best martial art. I can't fault him for that and I can't argue with him. It is the best martial art, for him and his students. That is another subject. One thing he did say though is that he has found what he enjoys and has zero interest in what anyone else is doing. That hit home with me and took a while to really settle in.
I guess it hit home because this is what my online presence has become. I am no longer enjoying my conversations or exploring the reasoning for my beliefs. I am no longer being presented with new information and instead, just a rehash of the same old same old. I stopped reading the spiritual posts and the ideal posts because they no longer interested me. Instead I was reading about training methods, and techniques and how they can be applied. Looking over my past posts for the last few months I found nothing but wasteful arguments with no insight gained and no resolution. Very different from my first posts here. I think this is because my ideas on what a martial art is, and what I want from the martial arts has solidified. Arguments presented on the internet are just not solid enough to change my ideals anymore. I feel all my future growth will be done face to face.
Continuing to post here will really accomplish nothing but annoy those of you who are trying to get information from this forum. I do not wish to become the negative voice in anyone's training. It is not my place to point out things I find fundamentally wrong or silly and I sincerely hope none of us ever find out if I was right or wrong. I'm just spinning my wheels and getting annoyed and it seems what I thought was respect is in fact disrespectful. If you felt my challenging and asking questions or tone was or is against your concept of respect, then I am sorry.
So I want to thank everyone who argued with me, tolerated me, tried to help me, and even those who attempted to insult me. All of you have helped define what I believe martial arts are. I'll leave you with what I feel I have learned. Feel free to take it to heart, argue it or ignore it, but I will not be back, at least not unless I encounter something that changes me way of thinking. Who knows what changes time will make.
Things I've come to believe:
A martial art is as good as its worst teacher.
The person is more important then any training.
Technique and strategy can overcome size and strength, but only so much.
When technique is equal, bigger stronger faster matters.
The starting place and often most neglected self defense is getting physically fit.
Breathing is the most important thing you can learn .
Position is the second most important thing you can learn .
Nothing is certain.
Trickery is a talent.
Sparing is not competition
Sparing is not fighting
Repetition is the best form of memorization
Most people can't handle being punched in the face.
Most people can't handle the stress of sparing, at first.
Pride defeats learning, but confidence helps.
Pride and confidence are often confused for the same thing, or for each other.
Speculation is bad.
Testing your ideas is a noble pursuit. But honesty is required because you can't test everything all the time.
Groin shots are not as effective as I've been lead to believe.
When someone says it is impossible to escape, what they really mean is that they have not been taught the escape, or they never let anyone try.
If it is impossible to test in sparing, and is non-obvious (like eye gouges), it's not worth training.
Most people argue about what budo is.
I do not want to peruse budo.
I have adequate self defense, even if I stopped training today and only went to the gym to stay in shape.
I've learned more about myself in competition then I ever have though reflection, meditation, yoga, kata, one step sparing, writing songs on my guitar, playing in a band, programing, working on cars, going to school, or any other spiritual activity.
Anyways, thanks again for the chance to learn from all of you. I won't be coming back so if you want a response, email me. I turned on emailing for this account and changed the address to one I check. I'll be happy to reply as long as I think it is productive.