Hey – what style of martial arts are you practicing there?  Hmm – I wonder if my style is better than yours?  Probably.

This is a thought that’s probably passed through the mind of almost every person who has ever trained in martial arts – including me!  I think if we’re completely honest with ourselves (and each other), there is no denying we’ve had this thought.  After all, we’re only human, and humans are competitive by nature.

Martial arts is a funny thing because at the end of the day, it’s not about everyone else. It’s about yourself.  Why you train.  What’s important (or not important) to you.  Back when martial arts was in its infancy, people largely trained in small groups – not the commercialized Dojo you see in today.  In Japan for example, Martial arts was largely family oriented in that often, an entire family would train in a particular martial art for some reason e.g., it was passed down from generation to generation, etc.  It was private in nature.  “Outsiders” were generally not taught an art.  Secrecy and privacy were held as important considerations.

These days, as martial arts continue to expand (and new styles continue to appear), what is mot important is that you have a solid understand of why it’s important to YOU to train.  What values do you hold dear?  Why is training important to you.  As the image above shows, there are many “paths up the mountain”.  At the end of the day, what is important is that you’re getting what you need from your training, whether is physical, mental, cultural or a combination.

So, don’t sweat what everyone else is doing.  In fact, appreciate it.  Learn from it.  And continue to train in a way that fulfills and inspires you.

Happy training!

Pennell Sensei.