My car had to go to the garage for some repair work that ended up taking 24 days to do. Thankfully the insurance provided a hire car for this period. Now, I have an older Ford Focus that is comfortable to drive, but the hire car company provided me with a huge 4×4 white BMW mk4 automatic with 8 speed gear box. Not my first choice of car, not even my 20th if I’m honest. But it was a car and it got me to the places I needed to go, which was mostly the dojo.
The BMW was a lot higher up than my car, making me feel quite unstable every time I went around a corner. (We have a lot of corners on UK roads.) I grew to like the 8 speed gear box I don’t really need to go from 0 – 60 mph in under 5 seconds. Apart from the digital radio and the heated seats (minor gimmicks, but nice ones) the rest of the car was horrible. The pillars between the doors and windscreens blocked my vision whenever I needed to pull out and overtake on the motorway. The car had that many alarms beeping at me it was a distraction to drive. The dashboard flickered like I was in the West End. In short, it failed to do what I wanted a car to do – be comfortable to drive.
Now here is what I did like. The car was brand new, just 1000 miles on the clock. I liked that people looked at it with a degree of admiration. It felt a little bit special to be in charge of a car that had hardly any road time. Never mind that I didn’t like the car, I was liking the attention it got.
Moving away from the cars and on to martial arts. What’s your motivation for training in the style you do? Learn something traditional, keep fit, develop new skills? These are all admirable things. I have said it before, but I’ll say it again. I learn my martial arts because I find them fun, and because I get satisfaction in doing a technique well. To a certain extent I am not fussed about my grade (though grading can be fun for checking out what you know under pressure).
I am cautious of the person who starts a martial art, “to become a black belt.” That’s not learning a martial art for the joy of it. That’s learning something in order to get attention. Like that hire car I had. And if you start a martial art with the only purpose in mind being that black belt, then like that car it’s going to be an uncomfortable ride. There is nothing wrong with having a goal of reaching a certain level, but the journey is part the fun, so enjoy it!