A big congratulations to my teacher, friend and an absolutely amazing Karate Master Sensei Mark Greville, who just received his 9th Dan Black Belt (red belt) in Okinawa recently. An amazing man and the major influence in my life of Karate-do. Very proud to have studied under him for over 27 years and also to be the Sensei of his sister school on the central coast. Very proud.
Throughout my years i have learned a great many lessons. One of the most important which has become even more apparent as i grow older has been the value of true traditional martial arts on life. I have been training now for over 37 years and there is no question that it has given me a richness in life and been an incredibly positive force in my mental attitude and my minds resilience in times of adversity.
We all know the value of exercise in our daily rituals and the positive effect it has on the body and the mind, but what if we were to raise it up a notch? What if we were to exercise with a greater purpose, where our actions gave us a practical life skill as we worked out our spirit. What if we learned to breathe correctly whilst under physical duress, gained flexibility, tempered our minds, learned philosophy and conditioned our bodies all as a natural progression of our efforts.
Now firstly i must be clear, I’m not talking about many of the combat systems that exist today which are totally about the physical fighting aspect, I’m talking about the true traditional martial arts that through its teachings will not one make you fitter, but will also build a peaceful nature and resilient mind.
The mind and body are linked much more closely than many of us realise, but its not until you undertake a true martial arts you soon find out just how closely they are linked.
If you find the right teacher for you, and i emphasise YOU (as picking a teacher must be a gut feeling). soon you will experience yourself being pushed to new levels, but not just on the physical... the connection i speak of runs right through your system. There is an inherent value in a true traditional martial arts which raises up way beyond the physical. Of course you learn it through physical conditioning, you learn it through hard work and diligence, you learn it through realising that mediocre will not be good enough. Follow the path and you will soon be drawn not only into those facets, but into the rich history & the philosophy that is revealed to you. This gives it much more meaning than JUST training.
The greatest misconception about the martial arts is that it is about fighting. this is incorrect. We practice martial arts to temper the spirit. yes we learn defensive skills, we feel pain, we ache and sweat, but it is all summed up in an old Okinawa saying. “Demons Hand Buddha’s heart”
The resilience on all levels that traditional training gives us over time will strengthen our mind, body and spirit. Also if you look into the true Kata (combat patterns) of martial arts you will soon see that each patters begins with a defensive move. “Karate ni Senti Nashe” (there is no first attack)
If you go to a true teacher you will learn how to temper your mind, have a level of control over your thoughts, build structure into your life, break through the barriers that will incapacitate others... and it will also make you endorphins flow. Its just a great way to start a day… or even to finish it!
I have been a martial artist for over 37 years of my life and it has helped me in more ways than i could have ever imagined. i truly feel had i not practiced Karate diligently and with a real teacher then some of the major issues that pushed me to the edge in my own life may well have taken me all together. It was through my increased resolve built throughout years of training that gave me the strength to not only come back, but to embrace life again and once again succeed.
Lastly, it will show you through your journey to the base of the mountain (black belt Shodan- it goes up to 10th Degree/Dan) that it is in fact the obstacles we are challenged with that make us stronger and once we learn to respect this, we take on this challenges with vigour and rigour.
I leave you here with this letter from a parent of a child who trains in the martial arts.
FROM A PARENT:
One of my friends asked "Why do you pay so much money for your kids to do martial arts?" Well I have a confession to make, I don't pay for my kids' martial arts. Personally, I couldn't care less about martial arts.
So, if I am not paying for martial arts, what am I paying for?
- I pay for those moments when my kids become so tired they want to quit but don't.
- I pay for those days when my kids come home from school and are "too tired" to go their practice but go anyway.
- I pay for my kids to learn to be disciplined.
- I pay for my kids to learn to take care of their body.
- I pay for my kids to learn to work with others and to be good team mates.
- I pay for my kids to learn to deal with disappointment, when they go to tournaments but don't get that score they'd hoped for, but still have to work hard in the preparation and competition.
- I pay for my kids to learn to make and accomplish goals.
- I pay for my kids to learn that it takes hours and hours and hours and hours of hard work and practice to create a champion, and that success does not happen overnight.
- I pay for the opportunity my kids have and will have to make life-long friendships.
- I pay so that my kids can be in the dojo instead of in front of a screen...
...I could go on but, to be short, I don't pay for martial arts, I pay for the opportunities that the martial arts provide my kids with to develop attributes that will serve them well throughout their lives and give them the opportunity to bless the lives of others. From what I have seen so far I think it is a great investment!
So go check out some schools, do some training, immerse yourself in a world of culture and rich history & learn to defend yourself both inside and out at the same time.
Stay awesome! GVB Mind Warrior