(One of) My Why(s)

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.

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Comfort in discomfort

A quote that I heard from a work mentor is that to be successful, “one must become comfortable being uncomfortable”. This is a quote that, after thinking about it and reflecting on my own experiences, I am a believer in. Every time throughout my life, whether it was going to a boarding high school for 11th and 12th grade, understanding the physical and psychological intensity of boxing, traveling to Australia as a 16 year old and meeting new people, or facing fears in human Continue reading “Comfort in discomfort”