Not a Race – A Path

You have been injured, or you need to spend time on an occupational trip, or a family member needs some long-term attention, and you think, “I don’t want to fall behind in my training”. Maybe it is not Wing Chun training, Maybe it is an exercise program, a self-study of painting or music, or some other interest. Regardless, we often have that thought of not falling behind.

Fall behind what? Are you comparing yourself to others? Have you set some arbitrary time-based goal? Do you believe Martial Art training is organized on a semester program such that if you miss too much you will not graduate with your peers? Graduate to what?

Wing Chun, Kung Fu, all Martial Arts are paths, not races. They are life styles, ways for you to center yourself, and ways for you to examine and move in the world. Frankly, if your training is serious and not mere dabbling, it is not possible to abandon the journey. Even as you nurse an injury, travel for work, or tend to a family member, your training remains with you. You think about it. You use it in your activities. It is hoped you miss your Martial Art brethren; you miss the repetition and refinement of techniques and the acquisition of new ones. However, you are not falling behind. What is there to fall behind?

You are attending to your life. Martial Arts are about just that – life. They are not contests, though many convert into competitions. When they do, they become sports with limited lifespans. The study of a Martial Art is for the entire life, not only a small window during your prime. If the race is the only concern, it becomes only temporarily experimental, not even a hobby – a taste-test, a brief exploration, and nothing more.

If you can train, you must. Every day, every other day, once a week, at your school or home alone, whatever opportunities life affords you. If life is not throwing you a curve, then life is giving you a clear path to engage whole-heartedly. Take it. If you do not, you were never on the path to begin with.

“It is not that you get off the path; it is that you get back on it.”

Like hiking in the woods, it is okay to leave the trail, just make sure you can return to it. If you cannot, you are lost.

It is not possible to fall behind. Your desire is either to do, or not do. If you do, there is a constant move forward. Behind does not exist.


About Sifu

I teach Wing Chun, both traditional and practical, at KDA Karate Academy. I have a Bachelor of Media Arts degree from USC. I have been an Audio Producer / Engineer, a Law Office Manager. In addition to being a Martial Arts Instructor, I am an author. My new book, "Astro Boy, Sensei, and Me" is available now, as is my Sci-Fi joy ride, "On a Sphere's Edge".

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