Quite a big post today. First off, new look site! We have again been working hard behind the scenes to keep making Bushin better and trying to get new people in through our doors to train with us, learn from us, challenge us and become part of our family. Have a poke around and let us know what you think of Bushin Website 3.0! Many thanks to Chris at Hostcat for helping us get it to this stage.
Secondly, we are very happy to be an affiliate to IHitHard.net who has been set up by our very own Ananya who aims to promote women in the martial arts world as well as document her own journey. We already have an interview with our resident black belt Fiona up on there so go check it out!
Thirdly, don’t forget we are having a Summer Bash event this year over the weekend of June 23/24th. Early bird tickets are currently available, total price is £100 which includes a weekend of training and two dinners as well. Deadline for Early Bird prices is the end of March. The price thereafter is £120.
Lastly, but in no ways least, Sensei Cailey went abroad for work recently and came back with a story to tell…
Keep it Real
Having just returned from a trip round the Americas, I’m always fatigued by the vast number of the fake smiles and scripted politeness. I find that, while it’s great having a service culture, if it’s not genuine, it’s not real.
In contrast, on my trip I happened to visit a tiny, poor village in the mountains of Ecuador. We gave a lift to an old lady struggling to climb up a steep hill. When we dropped her off she thanked us profusely and tried to pass us a few rusty coins she couldn’t afford to give. Her gesture brought me goosebumps. A heart bigger than the continent than engulfed her.
I was reminded of the Zen Buddhist philosophy that I was brought up on in Shorinji Kempo, the start of my martial art career. I loved the philosophy and studied it hard. Over the years though I became disillusioned, as I found too many people professed to follow it but in reality didn’t. When push came to shove, ego triumphed over human values.
I started training in other styles about 20 years ago. When I was looking around I always chose the most experienced teacher I could find. Not just because I wanted to learn from the best but also because I wanted them to look through my experience and treat me like a beginner. I’ve been very lucky with all my coaches over the years – they all know my background and yet they are senior enough to teach me with indifference. The way it should be.
When I train in other clubs I never tell my training partners who I am. I find that if they know my background, the training relationship changes. In many cases I get treated with too much respect or, conversely, I get challenged. The training is no longer fun for either of us. I prefer them to find out after a period of time, if at all. That way you develop the right working relationship to find fault, grow and get better together. If I’m crap, I want to be told I’m crap; and the same if I do something great.
In Bushin I manage different personalities every single class, week in, week out. Some hit too hard, some don’t hit hard enough. Some are slow learners, some are naturals. However, everyone has to get along regardless of ability and experience. My main job, above everything else, is to get the best out of people. For that I have to make sure egos are left behind and people are challenged in a controlled and enjoyable environment.
I felt this was one thing missing when I learnt traditional styles. Grade seemed to be a barrier of development as much as a step. More importantly I learnt that you don’t need to impress upon people a philosophy, you just need to provide the correct training environment that nurtures it.
Respect, humility, discipline and other such values are hugely important but drumming it into people doesn’t work in my experience. What works is practising it on a regular basis. Respecting your training partner and thanking them for teaching and challenging you – whether they are more or less senior is irrelevant. If I’m hitting pads and I drop my hands I want my pad holder to give me a telling smack. The pad holder should feel empowered to do this, even if they are a white belt. The hitter should feel humbled to accept the teaching, even if they are a black belt.
Is your stance strong? Are you keeping your hands up? Are you rotating enough into your cross?
If you think you are brilliant or even crap and afraid to go outside your comfort zone, who will never progress beyond a certain level. You should acknowledge when your weaknesses have been exposed, and do your best to correct them. Anyone you train with or learn from may give you a fresh perspective and, if you keep an open mind, you will progress much faster. Do not be afraid of change and accept criticism with an “osu”.
So, look at yourself in the mirror and look hard. Look through the superficial image, strip away the perceptions and drink in the fountain of reality. Keep it real!