2009 - 2010
Do We Know it All?
It is said in the martial arts that every now and then you should take off your black belt, go to a different school, put on a white belt, and be a beginner once again. We should all return to being a student from time to time. This is the Zen concept of "Beginners Mind".
There is a danger in reaching a high rank; there is danger in achieving success and recognition. It might go to our heads, we might become complacent.
We must be diligent to remain beginners. I recall my days at Karate College in Radford, Virginia. Very few of the participants wore belts. As I got to know them I realized that most of them were high ranking black belts and instructors.
You would never guess their high ranks and status by looking at them. They were wearing T shirts and sweat pants for the most part, they were listening to the instructors as would any student; they came to learn not to show off.
I too am a student. Last night I was at Itay's. I raised questions about certain situations. He honestly had not thought about these situations and said, "I will have to think about it." We picked up some rubber guns and knives and got to work. I came home and continued to work on these techniques with my students. I told them these techniques and situations were new; we were still in the creative process. I myself had not mastered them; they were several different ways the techniques might end. We all work on them together.
This work is essential. From a philosophical point of view, from a Zen point of view, it might be because we have to remain humble, and continue to grow. From a Krav Maga point of view, from a reality survival point of view it is because new situations keep emerging. If we are not on the cutting edge we might be endangering someone's life.
When am on tour I meet many people. I hear their stories and listen to their questions. They tell me of real life encounters and how they dealt with them. I take all this in, this is part of Krav Maga growth, of Krav Maga evolution .
We must continue to evolve or become extinct as martial artists.