Are you truly training and studying your martial arts, or are you simply going through the motions?
Are you committing your time, effort, and even money to get the most out of your training?
These were questions that came to mind at a recent seminar with Shihan Michael Asuncion (15th dan) in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Something that is always enjoyable at Shihan Asuncion’s seminars is the great balance between learning awesome martial arts techniques and true budo philosophy.
Sincerity in Training
As you progress on the path of martial arts, it seems that the gains you make from training become smaller and smaller, but so much more important.
In the beginning, you get a ton of great information and new skills at every training session. But after 10, 15, or 20 years, new skills become more difficult to acquire. However, you learn more and more how to make the skill you do have that much better; that much more effective in your movement. So, you have to allow a passion for training to develop to keep going year after year. That passion only flourishes through sincerity.
Points on Sincerity
- Sincerity in fighting skill. Will your movements work in a real world self-defense situation, or are they simply fantasy to satisfy your ego? This can only be answered through training.
- Don’t get caught up in your accomplishments. In Shihan Asuncion’s opinion, the elation one feels after passing the 5th degree black belt test in the Bujinkan should only last perhaps to the end of that night. After that, the real work begins!
- There must be a sense of justice behind your movement, otherwise it’s just violence. There needs to be a just reason that you are fighting (protecting your life or the life of a loved one, for example). Are you devoting your life to becoming a better human being that your family, friends, and community can depend on, or are you devoting your life to violence?
- The best practice is the practice that no one else knows about. Do you only train or study when other people are around? Are you only training to get a certain rank? Or do you spend hours training and studying alone simply because you love it and want to improve?
Mastery in the martial arts comes through devotion and sacrifice. Do you possess magokoro?