Do you know that feeling you get when you finish a big project moments before the deadline? Or the excitement you feel just after making it down the ski slope for the first run of the season? What about the rush you get when you watch your friend compete and win some athletic event? Those are great feelings. Undoubtedly, moments like these are the spice of our everyday lives. We seek them out. As soon as we are finished with one vacation, we are already planning the next one in our heads. We look forward to each moment that gives us a little jolt of adrenaline and a memory to hold on to. These moments aren’t bad, or wrong, but sometimes we can get a little carried away in seeking them out and we forget that spices aren’t much good without the food that carries them.
Alright, you ask, why are you talking about food on a martial arts blog? The answer is simple. We martial artists have a tendency to focus on the spices of our individual arts. In TKD we strive for a higher kick or a more complicated spin. To be fair, those are really cool and definitely fun. But if we look at the original texts for TKD, those techniques are hardly mentioned. When we read tales of the training experiences from those early days, we find that most of the time was spent in repetitive, difficult training that seemed never to end. The early masters were not all highflying showmen. Instead, they were hard working, dedicated individuals who knew the value of persistence. Even today, the men and women who are truly masters of their arts spend massive amounts of time working on the basics. Improving their understanding of body mechanics and force application through the repetitive study of their own body. They can do AMAZING things, but it isn’t because they spent so much time showing off to people. It is because they spent hours and hours working on the little things that make a practitioner into an artist.
So how does my earlier food analogy apply here? Well, so many people spend their time in life (and in training) looking for that next big event or milestone. Even I have a tendency to focus on the fancy, showy techniques that will get the best reactions in my classes. But what we need to do is stop chasing the rush. Stop trying to make every moment a memory of greatness. Instead, make every moment a single step toward the bettering of yourself in the basics of your art and your life. The moments of greatness will present themselves. When they do, if you have been diligent in your training and living, you will find that you are prepared to reach a higher level than those who have only been searching for the next big thing.