The long road

People tend to view the learning of a task like looking at a pyramid, at the bottom is the many, the unskilled, the novices. And somewhere high at the top of the mountain is the master. In my opinion this is a rather bleak view of life. Possibly it is this view of achievement that makes many give up on tasks that however difficult, were not impossible.

In regards to the study of martial arts. I prefer not to imagine a lonely sage atop a mountain without equal or the hope of ever attaining higher knowledge. Instead I choose to view the progression like a drop of water from a spring, high up in the mountains. As it travels it grows in knowledge. As a stream, then to a lake, a river, and out to the ocean. Its world ever expanding, not retracting into solitude. And with this, the understanding that there is no right or wrong. Only that a choice may be correct for that moment, and the knowledge that infinite other paths exists. In the exploration of which, a task that will never be complete.

Therefore in training a martial art, it is not the art itself we are truly attempting to master. We are training to master ourselves. Not with the goal of being able to control the world around us, to bend it to our will. But with the goal of mastering oneself, to become pliable and bend with the world around us. Not to become rigid in thought or action, but to gain skill and knowledge from the obstacles that confront us. This, in my opinion is the goal of a master. A goal that is life long.

Sifu Frank Jones