The Social Martial Artist — I’ve become what I used to make fun of — and couldn’t be happier
So back when we were training harder, we all remember the people who would hang out and talk more than get their reps in. Like getting weaker, fatter, or less tough (not that I was EVER tough) we thought it would never happen to us, and boom, it does.
I still get reps in and still improve, but it’s moved WAY down my priority list. Even though I run an ostensibly instructional YouTube channel, what I love more than teaching and getting good is interacting with different people, learning new view points, kicking around ideas, playing with them, and helping to build community. That energy, like sparring or playing hubad, is electrifying and what I really value. And most easily achieved by being a social martial artist.
Part of what makes this possible is not being preoccupied with mastery. I clearly don’t have to time to practice everything I show at 2 episodes a week. Does the stuff work? Maybe. Can I make it work with the amount of time I plan on putting in? Definitely not. A little honesty, and problem solved.
“…I fear the man who has practiced 1 kick 1,000 times.” Fair enough, but you may make fewer friends this way
and keep in mind this quote is from a guy who went around absorbing new ideas like a sponge, so…
Don’t get me wrong, I have core movements that genuinely get a decent amount of practice, and repackaging old ideas is in fact how to get more reps in while having fun and staying engaged. My project arose from figuring out how to keep intermediate practitioners engaged if for one reason or another their interest or commitment was flagging. One answer is quite frankly, to be satisfied where you are while still moving forward. It’s much better than getting down on yourself.
If you are happy keeping your nose to the grind stone, by all means, continue. We need true masters to learn from and play with. But if you find yourself drifting into a social martial artist, I suppose I’m here to say it’s okay, as long as you recognize your priorities have shifted, and are also realistic and comfortable about what your current capabilities are.