Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Up you game!

There is a type of martial artist out there who will say that all they hope to do is do a little bit, not take what they do so seriously, and when they reach a certain level, be satisfied. In other words, they see the martial arts as something no more than an occasional hit of badminton, or a few minutes of table tennis. A time filler, a nice hobby and a bit of exercise

Well, sure..that's possible. May I recommend a Tae Bo DVD for you to watch at home so your little fantasy world isn't challenged? Because that's the only arena in which all your presumptions are going to be fulfilled

Martial sports like MMA, Jits etc are more like tennis than table tennis. I can pick up a paddle in ping pong and within a few minutes, get the ball over the net with an ugly push shot and my partner can do the same. The learning curve is fast. Tennis on the other hand is different. If you never played it before, it can be immensely frustrating and unforgiving. Just getting a ball over the net is hard, and anything more than a three shot level takes a certain modicum of skill, training and hard work

In other words, you need to commit a lot more than the bare minimum. And martial sports are the same. You always need to 'up your game' otherwise you're not going to see that progress you were looking for, and you won't be able to come close to pulling off those fantastic techniques you saw people like Marcello Garcia do. Because the moment you think you want to stop at being able to hit three shots in a row over the net, your opponent hits four; and you will start losing, and tennis won't be fun anymore. Trust me.

This doesn't mean that you have to be some crazy, obsessed martial arts junkie that lives in a dojo 24-7 (But if you want to, hey, that's your life). It does engender the awareness that it's difficult to set the bar so low that it's ridiculously easy to achieve your goals

My goal in BJJ was to get a blue belt. I thought that was the equivalent of swimming the English channel. Now, I'm gunning for purple, and that is beginning to feel like trying to swim the Atlantic ocean! I once said that I would end my time in Judo at Brown. Black was impossible. Too difficult, too painful etc. Now I'm just working on hanging with the other Blacks and trying to move up the totem pole.

This is not the equivalent of the unhealthy beggar my neighbour manipulation and political skull duggery that you might see in, say, the corporate office. This is healthy co-operative competition. You want to get better, and you want your opponent to get better because then both of you can work for greater heights. And in doing so, new vistas in training and experience open up to you. Everybody wins. Nobody loses.

And finally, now you're actually playing tennis as it was meant to

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