Friday, July 17, 2015

Martial arts are social

They've been for several decades, with some very specific exceptions. This means that they're subject to the same constrains and bumps as other social interactions. Three examples:

The current economical crisis has led several in our group to work in foreign lands. So far, they're going home, but I think that's mostly anecdotic. And you'd have to add a couple of local changes of location that, nonetheless, put people well outside the practical distance to attend training regularly. While it's been sad, the first one to go is now second "in command" of a pretty established dojo. Another is looking for a training gym to start a group. One of the more local ones is also on that path... And so a system grows.

And yesterday, at the end of semester dinner, we were looking at the way quite a bunch of people had left our organization. Specially the last bunch, but in general; those last 40 years. And there were two constants: full time instructors and shelving the past. People who'll not acknowledge who they learned the style with, and will later try to obscure the issue. It's almost as if they were scared people would point at them because of it and, by denying, they manage to make it a self-fulfilling prophecy.

And, related to that last, cliquism. Being sure of your own training is good. Disregarding anything else, even nuances... I mentioned it last year in a post that's gone dark, people dissing an instructor and his kali when he'd been invited by the guy doing the seminar AND was better at both styles than those making the fuss. The head instructor wanted them to learn that, but they decided they were above those games. This extends from small things (this way of punching vs. that one, both within the same style) and to bigger ones (the resistance of some people to getting acquainted with Keysi, the local --not as hormonal-- branch, is almost funny).

But learning is social. Teaching is also social. How do you deal with martial arts long term unless you deal with the social part?

Take care.

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