Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Do you do the martial Arts? Or are you a Martial Artist?

Do you do the martial Arts?

Quite often I ask my students this question - "do you do the martial arts - or are you a martial artist?  For most they look at me and stare with a confused look.  Others smile as if they understand nodding at all the appropriate times.  For the most part I believe there are a select group that eventually understand the answer to my question.  This is what I call "Oblivious Ignorance."  Quite simply - "you don't know what you don't know."  To me the martial arts is a way of life. After performing for many years as a child, there was a light that went off in my head and I knew that I would be a martial artist for ever.  I knew that no matter what career I pursued, or where my life journey took me, I was taking it as a martial artist.  

It doesn't have to be all consuming and the only thing you do, or your only part of life.  In other words, you don't have to train 24 hours a day - 7 days per week.  However if you are a martial artist, you only live as one.  Again, this doesn't mean to cut your hair and put it in a Samurai knot and walk around town in your Ninja Tabi, bowing at everyone you see, talking in riddles with broken English. 

To me I live the martial arts on a daily basis 24/7.  I have been doing the martial arts for so long (over 4 decades) I can't separate the two.  I can't go home and say, I will not live as a martial artist because every part of me,  lives as one. I can't leave the training floor and take off my uniform (Gi) and say I am done being a martial artist for the day.  The uniform or the belt of my students doesn't represent who I am as a martial artist.  When I think, I use strategy - derived from my martial art training, ideals and lessons taken from all of my teachers, all of my trials, tribulations and injuries etc.  When I deal with people I strive to act with compassion, empathy - traits I learned from years of martial art training and years of living.  When I run into struggles and life throws me lemons - I use my skills of patience - which I learned from training, teaching, dealing with students and their parents and being an owner of a school as well as all the physical lesson.  I never look at things as problems - I look at them each as unique situation, similar to that of a math problem. I only need to think of the equation to come up with the answer to the problem and those decisions are rooted in me being a martial artist.   So my mind can sort through the issues and make lemonade out of the lemons martial art style.

When I wake up in the morning I do it as a martial artist - throughout the day, I live as a martial artist and at night when I go to sleep - I lay my head to rest as a martial artist.  You see for me, the physical training is what brought me to where  I am now and my physical training may slow down as I get older and  I have to remain a physical warrior on a daily basis.  When I am not training physically -  I use my spiritual training and mental training as a martial artist, to live as a warrior.  I consider myself a martial artist.  So I ask you, do you do the martial arts or are you a MARTIAL ARTIST??  

Shihan Allie Alberigo is a career martial artist with 48 years experience, 25 in which he has taught 10's of thousands of students since he has opened his school.  If you have any questions or requests for future blogs, do not hesitate to email him or post a comment below.   

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