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Urgency.... Turning Japanese.... I really think not!

Hi everyone,

I hope everyone is fine and having a great April so far. Wishing Tom and everyone in Rhode Island a great and successful seminar, cannot wait to see the pics... Also those going to train with Tim and the Roshukai, i am sure it ill be an amazin experience.

I wanted to go over a couple of things today, first i wanted to speak a little about urgency, or as i call: the rush.

The rush is an irrational thing that so many people i have seen over the last 30+ years in martial arts experience, to me it is one of the most destructive things that can happen to a martial artist, as we train we all learn different and various techniques gradually in order to gain familiarity, and a natural competence with what we are doing.

But 'the rush' can strike when we look too far ahead too soon, we all feel (myself included) think we are better than we are, and we need to remind ourselves that we are not, it is for this reason that we must train the most basic fundamental techniques (and even breaking these down into their constituent parts further) to truly understand them. There is nothing worse than watching someone demonstrate a technically advanced waza, kata or technique, then continue on to wax lyrical about it, and then moments later you see that they have almost no knowledge of the fundamental layers of what they are doing.

Indeed we all feel it, but we must fight it at all times.

The second thing I would like to talk about briefly is something that i have also noticed in the western world specifically, i do not know if westerners living in the far east experience this or not. It is the belief that we are more Japanese than the Japanese, much like 'the rush' to me we must fight against this, all Japanese sensei and martial artists i have spoken to have had a very laid back positive mindset to martia arts, enjoying the fact that their heritage has passed simple manmade borders. But i have seen that there is a cadre of martial artists of western descent that seem to have a hardline view that if it is not 'koryu' or this way or how they did it in the 16th century, then you have no right to call yourself a martial artist? This cannot be correct in my view, all criticism is valuable indeed and negative criticism is the most valuable of all, but to all who experience this remember well: you were not alive in the 16-17th centuries, and i hate to drop a bomb on your precious beliefs but all of the passed down skills which we delight in will have changed, thus actually reducing the very mindset of 'being how they did it in the old days' redundant, though it has been passed down faithfully through the years, just like chinese whispers they will have changed.

This may not be a popular thing to say, but the truth is sometimes hard to swallow, and for some (those who are too japanese for example) it may be too much, i cannot speak for other styles but MJER dropped hundreds of waza as they were too similar or just not required?

I only train in one style and know that i am very much the ultimate beginner, probably no more than a very bad practitioner, but at least from a bad starting point it is easy to get better, with the mindset of being 'too Japanese' it is always going to be hard to accept that what you train will have changed with time, and with the personal barrier you have put upon yourself, you will find it even harder to improve as a human being..

Always avoid the temptation to be 'too Japanese' it will lead to, or be contrued as arrogance.

All this being said, enjoy your martial arts, always keep the beginners mind, and always big each other up, be there for one another, and remember, first and formost, we are all training together because we want to learn and have great experiences!!!

As a close friend would always say.

Keep Smiling :)

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