Tuesday 17 July 2012

A Notice to the Prospective Student

As we all know, men and women sometimes walk through huge sections of their lives like the living dead, oblivious to the beauty, the mystery, and the wonder around them.  Likewise,  the martial arts teacher, who has at his or her disposal a multitude of ways to wake up, to contribute, to transcend the mundane, and to live the promise of clarity-in-life through the practice, can walk through the training, the lessons, and the brilliance of it all without being awake ---and without tapping into or realizing what is beyond the obvious.

The obvious is the quest for recognition, usually in rank and awards, or in the brand of the car and the watch and the suit. The obvious is the distinction of the color of our uniforms, their cut, the patches we wear, and the titles we give ourselves. The obvious is that we can, indeed, block the punch, execute the arm bar, and teach hand-to-hand survival skills that can serve people when put in situations where they might be needed. The obvious is the business acumen we must acquire to operate our schools in a way that supports what it takes to run them. The obvious is that the martial arts can deliver a vigorous exercise program.

Beyond the obvious is martial arts training as a tool for deepening spirituality, connection, and a sense of involvement, mission, and purpose in the world. What better use of the idea of self-defense than to apply it not only to the physical protection of the body, but to the mind (As doesn’t the mind get soft and out of shape or even twisted, without challenge, focus, and purpose!), to the emotions, to the family, to the community, to environmental issues, to the food we eat, to the way we deal with conflict, with stress, with joy, and with kindness? Is not self-defense found in the values we pass onto the young? To the example we set for them? To how we demonstrate, through our own practice,  what is wonderful and meaningful and valuable in the world?

If you’re thinking about starting the martial arts as a way to get in shape or to learn self-defense, look for a teacher who is struggling (as it is always a struggle) to move beyond the obvious, beyond the superficial aspects of what the practice of martial arts training brings to the table. The great teacher isn’t necessarily driving the latest model Mercedes, sitting in the most stylish school, wearing the most ornate uniform, or teaching 5000 students in 25 locations. The great teacher is, ideally, living a kind of practice that is beyond the obvious and beyond the ordinary.

If you can find that kind of practitioner/teacher, then you have a chance to practice with someone who can talk about and show examples of what the martial arts does for a person, for their family, and for their community, when it is taken out of the “dojo” and put to work in the world. While many men and women walk through huge sections of their lives like the living dead, oblivious to the beauty, the mystery, and the wonder around them, there are also many people who are awake and engaged.

I work with martial arts instructors around the world who are vigorously working to move beyond the obvious. To see what these teachers are engaged in, what we’re working on, and how it’s affecting our practice of the martial arts, visit www.holisticmartialarts.ning.com

Tom Callos


For further information on how we can help you engage in life contact
Alan Ellis on 089-4567533
email aemartialartist@gmail.com

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