I was reading a blog of one Lun Lok. Lun and his bother Kim have been doing martial arts since they were young, and I found his insights refreshingly down to earth. Check out his blog What Martial Arts Mean for Me.
His recent entry A Show of Appreciation articles a student who feels he isn’t progressing, yet complains he hasn’t any time to practice.
The following is a quote:
The jagged road of Life throws up many challenges and presents many mountains to climb. One should never lose heart and just give up.
I thought I would come at it from the point of view of a student that not so long ago struggled, and what made me continue or what could make anyone continue for that matter. I think it would be helpful especially for people who are new or thinking of taking up martial arts and what to expect.
It is primarily an issue of expectations. People like the idea of martial arts but don’t really understand what it entails. You know from the common chirp: “show me some tricks”, that Kung Fu and other martial arts are romanticised in movies. Not that there is anything wrong with kung fu flicks as they have popularised what was once quite unknown to the outside world, so I’m thankful for that.
However real martial arts are not about tricks, you are unlikely to become a master in a short space of time with a bag of tricks. I’m always very cynical about any self defence course that claims to make someone combat ready in a fixed period of time. Ready for what exactly? You don’t know what you are going to face.
So how was it for me?
Well the first year I kind of went through the motions. Back then we didn’t do chi sau (sticky hands) until at least a year or so, which is different to now where it is introduced at the earliest opportunity along side core moves, drills and first form.
One thing that I noticed is I was not coordinated at all and had a poor sense of orientation.
Unbelievable for me to think of now, but I literally didn’t know which way was up. If I put my guard hand (wu sau) just a fist length away from my chest (without looking at it directly or in a mirror) it was never pointing up, even though I thought it might be some of the time. What’s more I had no idea if it was in the middle of my chest, and even had no idea if my torso was square on facing the front (dispite looking in the mirror!). Ironically my balance was fine. I can stand on one leg and jive no problem, but coordinating movements, especially simultaneous limb movements were tricky