It seems like martial arts have become just one more activity on the long list of activities the well-rounded American kid should do. But I've always felt a bit hesitant about signing Z1 up for martial arts classes. Karate is offered at our local Y and so many parents I talk to have their kids taking some form of martial arts. At a birthday party I went to a few weeks ago, two parents were
debating discussing the merits the superiority of the particular form of martial arts her child was learning (one was learn jujutsu and the other tae kwon do). As I sat there listening to the conversation, I felt rather uneasy and frankly, I wondered how much the parents actually knew about that particular form of martial arts. How much did they actually know about martial arts in general? The history. The purpose. The discipline.
Much like yoga in the West, martial arts has changed significantly and a lot of the timesfeels hollow and naked to me. Stripped of something somehow. I saw this video on The World of Ensayn Reality and Mr. Roberto Sharpe really got to the heart of why I feel hesitation about just signing Z1 up for some martial arts classes:
I feel equally uneasy about just going to yoga classes. Yoga, to me, is spiritual. The martial arts, to me, when practiced in their truest form is spiritual too. It's not just exercise or something to put on a resume. It takes time. Lots and lots of time, patience and learning to reach the heights of the practice (consciousness). (And the heights of the practice don't necessarily involve a trophy or a certificate.) And so, if you seriously want to delve deeply into it, you (preferably) need a master. You need to be committed. Patient. Open.
Now maybe that's just taking something that could simply be a fun activity (that as a perk teaches kids some discipline) and making it more complex than it needs to be. Maybe it's just not that deep. But to me, it really seems like something I need to think on and meditate on before we just do it. Z1 is taking piano classes and will soon start swimming classes. These disciplines also require commitment, discipline and time so I don't feel like Z1 is not acquiring these important traits. I feel like I have the time, if he expresses interest, to find him a true martial arts teacher. And that is what I would like to do.