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Taking responsibility

January 17, 2014

oh you lucky people, 2 blogs in one week, i’m spoiling you, well don’t get used to it…

This was my original blog for this week, until the unfortunate events took place this week (see previous).

When we reach a certain level, or get to a certain age, we  have to be prepared to take responsibility for our own training, It’s not fair to yourself  or to your Sensei (instructor) to just sit there and expect to be spoon-fed everything, I’m not advocating just wandering off to a nearby mountain and living your life as a ronin or warrior monk (there aren’t that many mountains in Doncaster anyway) you still need your teacher, but you also need to realise that they can only give you so much, some of the hard work needs to come from you.

In a couple of weeks time I’m teaching an Aikido workshop for a group of Taekwondo Dan grades in Sheffield, time permitting I’m hoping to have a small talk with them about taking responsibility for their own training.

Sensei Mark Danford (White Rose Aikikai) used to tell us ‘don’t be a passenger’ with this he was referring to doing our own study, usually for those approaching a grade exam, to learn their Japanese terminology.

So how do we start this process, chances are you already know, I expect the readers of this blog (both of them) are interested or involved in martial arts training, and as such they will know where their strengths and weaknesses are, for me straight away I know my stamina needs improving, It’s been over 3 years since I taught Taekwondo on a regular basis, and although Aikido (and now Wing Chun) are technical and interesting, I know deep down they lack the cardiovascular exercises required to establish a good baseline fitness level,….. that’s up to me!

As my Wing Chun Sifu recently said to us, ‘we don’t teach fitness, this is a Wing Chun class, if you’re wanting to keep fit, join a gym’

So personally for me it’s stamina, due to last year’s knee injury, i’ve been putting it off, my bike sat there gathering dust, my running shoes likewise, but at the end of the day, I have to practice what I preach (or blog at least) and get started, and although I agree wholeheartedly what my Sifu said to us, if during our adrenalin fuelled ‘fight or fight’ response, we choose flight we must be able to run, if that is your survival tactic (like any other) it requires practice.

Taking this type of responsibility requires you to take a critical look at what you’re doing in your training, take off the rose tinted glasses and have a good look around, find your weaknesses and address them.

After passing 1st Kup in Taekwondo, i’ll realised my punching and general handwork needed more work – I started training in Wado Ryu along side Taekwondo, 7 years or so later during my 1st Dan exam in Wado Ryu the Chief Instructor / examiner asked for joint locks and controls, again I identified this as a weakness, within months I had started Aikido.

My varied background in martial arts hasn’t been a whimsical flip flop from one style to the next, but a systematic examination of where my weaknesses have been and taking a corrective course of action.

So have a critical look at what you’re doing and where you are with your training, find your weak areas and take responsibility for them…..

 

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