I’ve been studying martial arts for 10 years now. I hit the milestone back in June. My studies have been erratic over the years — sometimes I was taking 7 classes a week, sometimes I was skipping classes for months at a time because of work or a writing deadline. Sometimes classes were fun, and sometimes they were miserable. They were always hard.
Sifu Carrie once noted that I’d been studying for a long time. I said, no, that I’d missed so many classes over the years. She waved me off. She said some people come in and take classes, and that’s it. Kung fu is something they do two or three times a week. But some people are thinking about martial arts all the time, during class and outside of it. They’re martial artists even when they aren’t in class. Martial arts transforms their lives.
And yeah, that’s me. Martial arts has changed my life in immensely profound ways. It’s given me a philosophy of living and believing — which is astounding, really, when I had made such a point of believing in nothing before I started.
The whole idea of Mind, Body, Spirit and how they’re interwoven, part of the same system, has opened my eyes. Before martial arts, I’d exiled Body. I considered it a lesser thing, thought of it as separate from me. A prison. Now I feel whole.
Most of the things martial arts has given me have nothing to do with punching and kicking… although really, punching and kicking are terrifically fun. Before martial arts, I had no idea how hard I could work, how hard I could push myself. I have no doubt at all that martial arts has made me a better writer and a better human being.
I have colored sashes and belts, and some of them are even black. They’re reminders of years of hard work. But if I never got a new one, I’d be fine. I just want to keep learning, to keep practicing mindfulness and focus, to keep discovering new things about myself, to keep pushing.
In martial arts, maybe more than in another other field, it’s about the journey. Ten years aren’t nearly long enough, but they’re a start.
I don’t have any blog posts prior to 2007 on this site, but here are some of my favorite martial arts entries from the last few years:
Soon, I will import my old journal entries and find the picture of me getting my first yellow belt, back in the summer of 2001.
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