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I started off the class on Saturday morning with a recommendation on some really nice documentary work done by the PBS people on the making of and philosophy surrounding traditional sword craft in Japan. For anyone who may be interested, here is a link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jt97sGtZX4s. What I have always admired about the Japanese culture is the level of commitment both expected and delivered.  From the smelter to the sword forger to the polisher to the 82 year old master swordsman, the level of commitment to their craft is extraordinary.  To our American sensibilities, they seem to border on the insane.  Of course, we live in a consumptive culture.  We are programmed from an early age to continually look for the next best thing.  We fear failure so we never fully commit and I think our lives are therefore relegated to shallow encounters with success.  I always feel I should have done more while studying with GM Leo, my Master.  I should have practiced more while fencing in college.  I should teach more often and give more.  Ultimately, the level of commitment shows in the work.  You simply can not master anything without a deep level of commitment and constant, rigorous, disciplined practice.  It is easier to make these commitments in a culture that values craft and excellence; much harder to do so in a throw away culture such as ours.  But, there is something liberating in discipline.  There is a freedom in rigor and there is beauty in practice.  Maybe we can all learn something about commitment by ignoring the voice in our head that insists there must be a better party over the neighbor's fence; by resisting our impatience.  Take a moment to  watch this video and think about the path to mastery.  GLM

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Comment by Godsoldier4life on March 17, 2014 at 11:42pm

Great post as well as insight.  I liken this to a maturation process.  The older I get the more I truly realize the importance of being prepared.  Mentally, physically, and spritual cultivation at an early age can provide positive results late in life. 

Comment by Zach Jenkins on March 24, 2014 at 3:46pm
Very good post Guro Lawrence. You're correct, commitment I believe is something lacking in several cultures as far as martial arts are concerned these days. A great teacher used to say, "Many want to know but few want to learn." I demonstrate many things to my students during the course of training and they always say, "what was that and when are we going to learn it?" I always refer back to the aforementioned quote when I answer them. I remember how hungry I was for knowledge and how hard I trained when I was younger and sometimes it's difficult for me to comprehend the younger generation. Even now I spent every spare momenent out of everyday to train something. The study of the martial arts never stops for me, sometimes I don't know if it is a blessing or a curse to be so consumed with it. Yet still I always think I could be training harder and more often. Perhaps it is an obsession for us or maybe just the way of the warrior. I'd like to think the later but I think we shouldn't give ourselves too much credit.

Regards,
Zach

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