Find Happiness in Martial Arts

karate1Traditional martial arts as many people know it today died many decades ago, but have no fear there is still hope.

 When the old-school training originally came to the United States it was authentic and had not yet been corrupted.  Overtime greed, laziness, and the lust for money and fame took the place of developing oneself as a warrior.  This is not an absolute for all dojo’s but it is more common then the public realizes. Only a few kept it real and upheld the old ways.

So often people are after titles and rank without putting in the work.  True titles and rank become more of a responsibility then a privilege.  When I was a young man training in the 70’s, a black belt meant something regardless of the style one practiced.  If a man wore a black belt, he was to be revered and respected.  If not, you could feel the wrath of his technique.  If a black belt was challenged, all those years of hard work he did would be put to the test and the untrained opponent would be left lying on the ground.  

karate2In the early 80’s, martial arts was becoming more popular in the main stream media.   At this time, I already saw styles being corrupted.  I feel this is due to people wanting fame and wealth as a teacher but had never put in the work, they never truly became a student.  These teachers taught students and those students became teachers.  Those teachers wanted to become even more successful so decisions were made that corrupted the martial art.  These choices killed many martial art schools.  I have even seen great martial artists become low-grade teachers due to the process of running a business.  It’s tough to keep it all balanced.  I ran a successful school for 20 years and I have experienced those challenges first hand.  I now only teach privately a few times a week to a select group of serious practitioners.  Quality control is a must.

Testing yourself and your students at some level should be a day to day thing.

There is nothing like full contact competitions to put yourself and your training methods to the test.  There are many ways to put yourself to the test physically and mentally.  If you’re not being tested, you’re not growing.  Too often schools are not pushing their students because they’re afraid they will quit and profits will go down.  It’s important to train correctly with a great martial artists who is an even greater teacher.  A man who truly knows his art will be able to teach it to another, the question is:  will the student do the work?

karate4Train what works.

Train for health and self-defense and the fun will come along the way.  

Taste the bitter to enjoy the sweet.  

Once you suffer through hard training, every little thing in life becomes more enjoyable.  After training hard it’s easier to relax, it’s easier to eat clean and easier to make better decisions.  You’ll find yourself slowing down and enjoying nature more, you’ll be able to hold a conversation with someone without so easily getting distracted.  You’ll be able to meditate easier.  

Take the time you deserve and train to yield the results you are looking for.  Find someone who can teach you old school martial arts skills and values along with techniques that work.  Do your homework before you join a martial arts school.  Then, once you make the decision to join, commit whole-heartedly to the teacher and trust his guidance.  Choosing a teacher is like joining a new family, much care must be given.  Martial arts has many gifts and happiness is one of them.

Life is good. Train hard, train smart, finish healthy.

-Jeff Hughes