I have always been fascinated by Martial Arts, not because they’re a combat sport but because they are informed by a philosophy that resonates with me and because I see it as a form of art.
When I lived in Hawaii, I used to go by myself to watch subtitled martial arts films and thrilled at the movements and skill of the people in them. Everything about it spoke to me - from the incredible discipline required to become a master practitioner to the philosophy & humility that are embodied, by one who is highly skilled but knows that it’s not a license to boast. The hair on my arms would stand up as I watched.
When my eldest daughter was old enough, I enrolled her in Karate and she loved it and would have continued if she hadn’t become even more enthralled with dancing Hula, which she still does. Talk about mastery….. since learning Hula in the 2nd grade, she has continued to build on her knowledge and skill not only of the ancient form of Hawaiian and Polynesian dance but also in many other cultural aspects such as language, chanting, and the many traditions that accompany being a committed student of Hula and ‘Hawaiiana’. She has been a student for over 24 years now and with her dedication has come mastery.
When my youngest daughter was old enough, I did the same, and enrolled her in Karate and she too excelled and pursued her training for several years. Her dedication inspired me and so I signed up and happily began training. But, due to various circumstances, we both had to stop after a couple more years. It was hardest on her though because she was just short of achieving her first Black Belt.
So – martial arts and the required disciplines have long held an appeal. In watching several documentaries set in Japan, I found similar forms of dedication and mastery in people who became master knife makers, master potters, master gardeners, master sushi chefs, master calligraphers & painters. They all had one thing in common and that was a dedication to learning their craft and to staying with a process until eventually they became highly skilled master craftsmen.(Even those relationships worldwide that have weathered the ups and downs of Life and are full of warmth and love are example of mastery!)
This brings us to the culture and time in which we live and what we expect. In contrast to the above where the results are wedded to an investment of time and effort, we live in a time of fast-everything – fast food, quick results, get-rich-quick schemes, communications via text and tweets. The list goes on and I fall into it as much as anyone. But what is the cost and are we aware of it at all as we look for the quick fix?
What do you think about committing time & effort in the pursuit of achieving a high level of skill or gained mastery?
Is it just a nice idea that doesn't have a place in our world now?
What sparks your interest and passions and would you be willing to dedicate yourself to this even if it took many hours, perhaps years to achieve it?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this so leave me a comment!