Martial arts often carries with it a certain image, some may say stigma. Even people who have experience with it often do not know what to make of someone who trains in it regularly. A question that practitioners are often asked is “Why?” I ask this about myself and many others sometimes. There does not seem to be an obvious benefit. Most serious martial artists do not make any significant income from their passion, the training is often tedious, repetitive, and sometimes painful. Even for combat goals, there is often not an obvious, immediate benefit. These people often have full time, unrelated jobs, families to care for, and other interests competing for their time, energy, and money. So what are some of the reasons for them to stick through and continue this pursuit? My most recent why is, the camaraderie.
My camaraderie that I feel with my mentors, from Coach Helder Gomes, to my Tai Ji teacher Dr. Tim Lee, to the Balintawak Cuentada community and my instructor Jeff Soriano , my Bagua teacher Matthew Staley, to my Gong Fu brothers on both the East and West Coasts, there is a unique sense of cohesiveness, and this allows for a special way of interacting. This is probably because we motivate each other, probably because we know that there are many other forces that seek to screech our practices to a halt, or because we have all heard of the stories. These stories are of masters, villains, battles, and attainment of inhuman skills. They play on our fantasies that we have had since being young boys and girls watching Wuxia television, Power Rangers, and Bruce Lee. Because of these reasons, and the relationships that form from it, my life is much richer than it would be without it.