The Magic Key

Steve Sepia

You have two eyes, two ears and one mouth for a reason

First of all you don’t have to like your coach to learn from him (could be ‘he’ or she’ but I’ll use ‘he’ in this instance).  If he has the information you need, suck up your personal opinion of him and absorb yourself into the information. He’s not there to be liked, or entertain, if he’s serious, he’s there to make you a good martial artist and through the process you will probably love and hate him – often in the same session.

A good coach will be forthright and give you the information you need directly and without too much dressing. You need to understand what’s in his head and his way of thinking, so in the beginning, too many questions or opinions won’t help.  Take the information on board and work with it before you question, you have to give it a chance – because I can tell you that your opinions will definitely change as you go along.

If you want mastery you must live martial arts, you will be taught how to stand, sit, walk, breathe and become mindful in everything you do, this MUST be practiced all the time you’re awake.  There are 168 hours in a week and if you sleep for 50 that leaves 118 hours to practice! When you stand, practice standing, when you sit, practice sitting, when you walk practice walking, when you breathe practice breathing, when you think, practice emotional intelligence, this is the perfect meditation and makes you mindful – you don’t have to sit in the lotus position and ‘OM’ to meditate, you will be enlightened before you know it!

If you only practice when in the Dojo – say 4 – 6 hours a week, and you’re not practicing the other 112 waking hours, you’re bound to fail! You need to be practicing more hours than you’re not, otherwise the ‘magic’ won’t work. You either practice martial arts as a pastime or you are a martial artist – you choose which one!

If you have a good coach he will know this and tell you quite bluntly if you’re not doing enough.  He will instantly be able to see week to week whether you’re making progress or not.  Dojo’s up and down the country are full of ‘Suburban Samurai’ who wear the clothes but are lazy, easily distracted, emotionally unintelligent and are being told the same things week after week, month after month and year after year, in short, they’ll never make it. Think about it – is this you?

Once you are practicing diligently and repeating everything you’re taught on a daily basis when you are practicing hard enough, intelligent questions will arise and they’re the one’s to ask. Not when you’re first taught something and haven’t given it a chance. A coach has to teach you how to be a student, how to learn, how to practice and you have to work with it.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but the value of that opinion is directly relevant to the experience and skill level of the practitioner. Better to be watching, listening and absorbing than giving an invalid opinion.

There is no ‘cant’ in the martial arts, only ‘I haven’t practiced enough’!

So the ‘magic key’ to learning martial arts, is watch, listen, think and study, practice every waking hour and the ‘mindfulness’ will improve your entire life. You will cease to be a zombie and an emotional wreck and stand straighter, breathe deeper, and develop a mind that is aware, focused, sensitive and intense giving you the ability to be able take control of your life and learn intelligently!

Learn to respect your coach and yourself.


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