Live the Lifestyle, Not the Fantasy
Being a warrior is an ongoing lifestyle. It is not a goal that once you achieve the status of a warrior, you can then relax because you now have all the weapons and training that you could ever need. You don’t all of a sudden achieve the perfection of character that you have been struggling to attain, and now you can kick back and relax.
Some people believe that they have made it to that point, after all, they have a black belt that they earned (15 years ago when they were actively training), how could anybody ever stand up to them in hand to hand combat? They’re a BLACK BELT! Don’t you know that this means they have “made it?” Once a black belt, always a black belt… Nobody in their right mind would ever attempt to attack someone who has obtained such a level of mastery, right?
Too many people believe that they are prepared to defend themselves or others because of their past training. Martial arts training is like paddling your boat up a river; as soon as you stop paddling, you began to go float backwards. The longer you sit there without paddling, the further you float backwards. The longer you neglect your training, the more your skills began to fade, the less flexible you become, and the more muscle strength you lose. Don’t believe it, stop stretching for several months and see what happens. This is especially true if you are in the position that I am in, where your son describes you as “old.”
The way is in training.
Victory is not gained through idleness.
If you have ever developed your martial arts skills to a level where you felt you could easily defend yourself, it is hard to imagine that your skills have dissipated and you are no longer at the same level. If you stop lifting weights for several months, you will find that when you start back you can’t lift the same amount as you were lifting when you quit. But when it comes to self-defense, people seem to think that they can still match up with the toughest of the tough, even if they haven’t been active for quite some time. In your mind you still see yourself as a force to be reckoned with, even if it has been years since you actually practiced your art.
Your mind still knows what to do and how you should react to certain situations, but it doesn’t mean your body is still up to the task if you haven’t kept up your training. I once was a very good football player, and my mind still knows what should be done on the football field. But I would hate to know that I would have to strap on the pads now. Don’t confuse where you used to be with where you are not. A black belt who is no longer active has a nice souvenir, but I wouldn’t want to stake my life on his fighting skills.
Tomorrow’s battle is won during today’s practice.
He who is an ass and takes himself to be a stag,
finds his mistake when he comes to leap the ditch.
It is foolish to try to survive on your past experiences and accomplishments. This can be a very dangerous illusion. See things as they really are, not as you want them to be. Be realistic. Don’t let yourself or others down…continue to train and stay in shape. It is your duty, as a warrior, to be able to defend yourself and others. Don’t neglect your training. Live the lifestyle, not the fantasy.
It is a very dangerous, if not fate habit,
to judge ourselves to be safe because of
something that we felt or did twenty years ago.