These days we have instant miso soup, instant oatmeal, instant chicken soup; just add hot water and serve. We have other instant foods; just unwrap, toss in the microwave for a few seconds and you are good to go. We demand instant satisfaction, faster and faster service. Don't keep us waiting! We are very busy, always on the go.
When I was a kid, and actually up until a couple of years ago, all my correspondence was via the regular mail. Let me explain for the youngsters; that is writing a letter on a piece of paper, by hand, putting it in an envelope, putting on a stamp, going to a post office or mail box, and mailing it. And no, I did not have a pet dinosaur. Today even e mail is considered too slow for some. They need instant messaging and other similar devices which I do not understand.
Imagine waiting 15 days to get a reply to your letter. I never considered it a problem; I thought that was pretty fast. Let's go back to the miso soup for a minute. Do you remember the old story of the miso soup master and the Samurai? Make a long story short (in case you are impatient), the impatient hungry Samurai warrior was waiting a long time for his bowl of miso soup. When it finally arrived he tasted it and said it was delicious. He asked what the special ingredient was. The master replied, "Time".
Let me tell you I am somewhat impatient myself. When I am learning a new Krav Maga technique – I want to master it now. Itay Gil used to say to me, "Moshe, you are very hard on yourself. If you don't get the technique right away you get very angry with yourself. You are very harsh."
He is right.
My friends, in life and in training we want instant results, instant answers. So we can make instant miso soup, but do you really think it is as good as the soup made by a master chef? Does it taste as good or is it as healthful and as good for your body? Clearly not. Instant oatmeal lacks most of the fiber and nutrients of oatmeal you can buy at the health food store and actually cook. It takes longer, a bit more effort but it is better for you. (I am cooking oatmeal as I am writing this).
We want instant answers; does she like me? Will she agree to go out with me? You are dieing to know but she is away now and won't be back for a few days. You have to learn to accept the fact that right now you can not know. We want to know the meaning of life; is there life after death? Where do our loved ones go when they pass on? We will not find out in this life time, we must accept that as a fact.
It is hard. Yes, it is hard, we want to know certain things, we need to know certain things. Teenagers will say but you don't understand, I really really want to!
We understand, but sometimes there is nothing to be done but be patient. As Tom Petty said, "And the waiting is the hardest part".
Sometimes a student will drop out right at the beginning. Why? Because they are not as good as the other students, (who have been training for a few years!). This does not make sense. We say, please understand, to get to that level takes time, you must be patient. But the truth is we are equally impatient. Most of us that is.
The Japanese speak of "acceptance", this is foreign to most Westerns, our attitude is "I want it now, and damn it, I am going to get it now!" Sometimes this tried and true method does not work. Acceptance is an art, it takes work. It is not easy, do not fool yourself.
Despite our hi tech culture there are certain things that we still can not get at the moment we want it, and then we must remind ourselves to accept the facts as they are. Certain things take time; we look at the seasons, each one in its proper time, we can not rush winter to get to spring, we must accept its own natural pace. Look at the trees; they will grow at their own pace. We can look at them every day, counting leaves and hoping for growth but ultimately, we must accept their own pace.
We may want something to happen, but it will not happen when we want it to. We can become miserable or we can accept the fact that the time is not right yet. We may get hints that the time is approaching, but we cannot rush it. If we rush it we will chase it away.
This is true with our training; accept the pace of your body. Work hard, do all you can do and then, accept your body's own pace. Suddenly it will surprise you and you will have the technique as your own. Do not bang your head against the wall in frustration; it will not help you at all. Things take time, accept it.
Martial arts and life is one unit; what is true for one is true for the other. I speak, and write, from the heart, when I tell you, be patient, with life, with yourselves. Give life time, give yourself time. Things will happen. Keep working, do what you need to do, and then …accept.
As the wind blows at just a certain moment, and the sun rises just as it does, so shall you blossom. Work hard but learn to accept the natural pace of life.