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Cor Navin commented on John R. Malmo's page School Directory
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Jul 1, 2021

What motivates, pushes, or drives you to be the best you can be at your art?

I have to say without a doubt it's my appreciation for my teachers willingness to share their knowledge with me and as a matter of complete respect and gratitude I push myself as hard as I can and attempt to pass on their teachings to the next generation to the best of my ability.

I ask this question because it's amazing to see all of the hard work and dedication put forth by so many that I've seen over the years. Being a self-motivator is very difficult yet we continue to train day in and day out.

So what motivates you to be the best you can be at what you do in the martial arts?

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To keep my motivation up.....I just look at my students....If they look good...than I look good too. We are a direct reflection of our students!

"the apple should not fall from the tree!" 

That's good Terry, although I always heard that students were a direct reflection of their teacher but I guess it's like the number 8... Upside down or right side up its still the same.  ;)

There are only a few people that I see really dedicate their lives to MA.  Most come and go for a variety of reasons (some wrong). 

I fall in the category of self perfection and personal development.  My motivation comes from challenging my self through the development of my knowledge and application of techniques.  Nothing gets me more excited than the notion of exploring new techniques or strategies.  As I age gracefully, I would like to spend more time exploring and less time banging it out.   

When you maintain a students attitude, you will always have that childish excitement when you come across a new thing.  Keeping our eyes open (open mind) we can see more than just looking.

When starting out my motivation for learning the arts was to have some ability to better protect myself, as I slowly progressed and gained self confidence my focus then shifted towards attempting to become better at everything I had learned, I was and still am motivated by my martial art colleagues who are more seasoned then myself and can move with grace and apply deadly strikes when required; there are a lot of people out there that are much better than myself and seeing their skill motivates me to at least perform at their level. I am also motivated by attempting to continuously please my instructor with not only my physical movements but by showing him that I have a good grasp of the concepts he is attempting to pass on to me and pass through my thick skull. Another source of motivation is from my students, I continuously practice so that I can keep up with them and to continue to serve as a motivation for them. Lastly, I have found a new source of motivation through the teaching of my kids, I have three in total ages 5, 6, & 7, two girls and a boy. There was a time that I had planned to leave the “social” martial art circle and just become a recluse keeping up with what I had learned through self practice and then taking it to my grave due to the politics often found in FMA’s but since then I have found good reasons, in the form of students, kids, and friends that motivated me to stick around and do what I could to push the FMA’s to the forefront and give it the respect it deserves from the general public. This is my new goal; while it is lofty it does keep me motivated to continue training. I will admit that now I am older there are days that I don’t feel like training, but then all I have to do is read the newspaper about a violent attack to realize that if I don’t at least train for myself I must motivate myself to train for the sake of my family, martial arts is my living life insurance policy, but instead of sending a check to a company I must put in time towards my training to give the policy value.

Hello Michael and Melvin,

 You both sound a lot like me in regards to this topic.  @ Michael, many years ago I felt like throwing in the towel regarding FMA not because of politics but because I felt stagnant in my training.  It was fate that one of my closest friends and student at the time told me about a FMA workshop in Germany where I met two of the most amazing martial artists I'd ever seen.  I got my spark back and I've been training hard ever since.

I get asked this question a lot!

The truth is I don't really think about what motivates me when it comes to my training. I feel as if it's all I really have in my life that I could consider being at a professional level.

So taking a moment to actually think about this. I would say what motivates me the most to train is to sustain and develop further my authority over my own body, mind and emotion.  It goes right with what Melvin was saying about Personal Development within a complete mind/body, emotional and spiritual balance.

I can feel a physical difference in my mind and body if I miss a day of training. This is the primary reason (my selfish reason) for why I opened my school here in Chicago. So I can train every single day. It's a daily requirement.  So I would say a big motivation for me is progress and productivity.

Guro Jenkins,

What motivates me besides my own will for self preservation and personal well-being. I would say is my students. My students I find push me to look at things in a new light and further explore my art. I find that just a simple question from the kids I train can cause me to go back and look at things in my art in a whole new light. The beauty I find is in the simple things that cane be hidden in plane sight. These are things that at re-motivate me to look at my art.

I couldn't agree more Guro Lawrence.



After nearly 20 years in the FMA I've had to change my goals several times. I rarely teach and for the most part try to keep to myself which can be problematic but its the enormous variety in the FMA that keeps me going. I want to see as many points of view as I can and I am fortunate to live in San Diego so I dont think I'll be running out of options anytime soon. 

Personally Wesley, I don't know if I could keep up the motivation without teaching or training with others.  It must be a very difficult task to stay motivated while being some what isolated from other martial artists.  I have had spells of being restricted to solo training for short periods in the past and when ever I started training with others again it took a while to get my timing back.  Have you experienced any diminished skills from having an absence of training partners?

I lived in Japan for three years and had nobody to train with. Even though I have a back ground in Modern Arnis I was still able to see different points of view via youtube and training DVD's(I highly recommend Edgar Sulite's overview of Lameco) so I was able to improve on somethings but definitely had some rust when I came back to the states. Luckily I have some amazing instructors and training partners in Pulahan Derobio and Siete Pares that I currently train with. 

Many things motivate me, the not wanting to get old. My students keep me young and moving...that or get hit LOL... On the more serious side my motivation is my promise to do all in my power to spread the art that was so graciously shared with me by my teachers. I want their memories and legacy to continue through me and my students.     


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