On motivations in Karate and how fate tends to interfere with arnis training

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A few words, it is not an accident that I get two different karate ryu’s (Tang Soo Do and Shito Ryu) for two consecutive years and be taught free of charge. While Arnis to me is as essential part of my identity as Filipino as much as an Okinawan learn Uechi Ryu or any other Okinawan Style of Karate, i constantly find that distance, time, and financial constraints (DTFC) pull my training to a stand still. That I could only go on considerebly for three to five months in training arnis before finding myself out due to DTFC reasons.

One main factor that affected my training is that I find that I no longer have the capacity train for arnis both in time and most especially due to financial reasons. In my absence, I have also been able to think and rethink about my motivations, both extrinsic and intrinsic, for pursuing martial arts in general. So far, I found it equally important for me to join a bigger group, if not at least to have a training partner or sparring partner who you could share your learnings, and interest in pursuing arnis, as opposed to what training with our Guro’s have always been 1-on-1. I most especially would point out in mild irritation like an itch you can’t seem to find, that in executing techniques you suddenly find yourself alone without getting the experience of actually having a live partner to feed you attacks and vice versa. I just find it irritating to have someone feed you with strikes, or at least do train arnis with you and find out soon enough through looking in theri eyes and reactions that this is only a one-sided amusement. Hence, that is why a bigger group is one of the factors that I am looking for in a  group. I will be defensive with this since some might see this as not being mature enough in the art. Well, as long as i’m paying and getting what i want from it, then I think i’m doing good. It really is awfully and terribly alone to find that you cannot share with anyone the joy of your interest in a Fighting system.

As such, I think people pursue MA for different reasons, one of which I have just recounted in the above statement, in my defensive stance in answer to those who have frowned upon my external motivations – Well, it’s still a motivation. I pursued arnis perhaps not only to be one day proficient in it but in a sense join a group where I can share it with others who enjoy the art as well both in and out of training. As of now, what I do have is Karate, in which the sensei is a village neighbor and the other members are made up of my best friend, his friend and a few training partners (a total of six students).

I have split my month in half. As my karate sensei told me that there will always be other things more important than karate, like family, spiritual paths (if that is one of your priorities as he had said), dating, other friends and work. As i had said, i split my months in half, since i wanted to spend half of my month, 2 sundays off, from karate to invest in my spiritual foundations. And the remaining two sundays for continuous training. Although I do miss training with them, the bible study group that I could see myself growing with was only available during mornings. So that meant forgoing faster progress for setting up of my spiritual foundations. I could not put both my feet in one or the other, so i had to schedule them. Also, in the past few months, although there was always small improvements, i found that pursuing Karate and all the other hobbies that I do love do not make any sense. How utterly unsatisfying they were, that even though it is an important part in my life, Karate Training is not the most important nor an essential part in my life. What is essential, though, was a strong spiritual foundation, a stable career and close family relationships. All the other parts of my identity is important but not the most essential parts. In truth, without spiritual stability, i’d be the worst karate-ka with a short fuse. Without a stable career, how can i support my further training, or even feed my children, prepare them for their future, or even show gratefulness to your sensei by providing tokens and gifts? Or what is fighting prowess without family? I’d rather be the most inept person but to have my family than be the fastest and strongest yet lose my family. I have sought for a more balanced weekend. Maybe, it’s like spending half of your time off from work with your girlfriend and the other time in rebuilding your relationship with your father / mother. And after giving up two weeks of karate, albeit excruciatingly, i found the sense of balance i was looking for. I tried doing only one or the other before and found myself hating myself and those choices. Karate is an important part of my life. It is not just the martial art, but more so, of the relationships that i’ve spent time building. This may be seen by others as a low-type of motivation for karate, but to me, it is. Maintaining relationships will always be a priority to me. It is one of the main factors why I do what I do. I have to train harder as well, since I don;t want to be left behind by my friends, by my sensei who spends his time to teach us. That is important to me, the time and trust master have spent to be able to teach Karate to us.

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So, where is arnis in the picture then? I wanted to attend arnis only during saturday afternoons but it has already been two years since i have not relied on my parent’s cash flow (since i’m already working) and even then they would rather spend money for gym than for my pursuit of arnis. But for the past months (January through March), i’ve been spending it on meds, dental, paying off my debts and cellphone plan fees. So for now, I have to be content with karate. Still, i cannot stop thinking about how fate is regularly puts me off from arnis. You know how it is for me for the past few years as a college student pursuing arnis. There was not enough opportunities for me to cultivate it in a bigger group.  It has always been like this, distance, cash flow and time. But it doesn’t stop me though from attending closer arnis events like those in alabang this may 19. These are just a few of the factors that derailed my choice for taking another break from arnis. The second factor is my loyalty to our old masters, that is stopping me from moving from luneta to an arnis group in closer proximity. (If there really are regular trainings in sm southmall) or those of the paranaque-based eclectic arnis LARAW. At least, Karate is an MA completely different from arnis. Just like what another teacher said to me a few months ago, “there will always be other times to train arnis”. Do keep me updated bro.

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From Left to Right; Joey (second batch of Fusion: Combining both Orabes Henerales (MMOHes) and Arnis Defense Silat (ADS) – the combined style headed by Patrick Gamayo)l Guy in blue shirt Learning Silat (ADS ) from Guro Freddie Fernandez; Paolo Jerome Cristobal learning MMOHes from Guro ‘Boy’ Laurena; Patrick Lubaton – Senior Student – student of Silat (ADS), Guro Freddie Fernandez who created his own style from automatic arnis, and arnis tulisan combined with modified pencak silat birthing Arnis Defense Silat, he specifies in breaking techniques; Senior Student of MMOHes; Guro ‘Boy’ Laurena specifically known for his MM Orabes Henerales a combined form of Kali Illustrisimo, Moro Moro Orabes Heneral and De Salon / Italliana forms (from an exclusive family based arnis style); Virgil Aldrin Ortega, Senior Student MM Orabes Henerales; Patrick Gamayo graduated from both Guro Freddie Fernandez’ Arnis defense Silat and Guro ‘Boy’ Laurena’s MM Orabes Henerales. New batch same as mine, but started his own style oncorporating our two masters’ styles into one. Tentatively known as Orabes Silat Fusion. – Patrick G. has extensive training in the sparring type of wushu that fights in narrow bridge on elevated ground, and Taekwondo.

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One thought on “On motivations in Karate and how fate tends to interfere with arnis training

  1. I appreciate your insights on the importance of a strong spiritual foundation, a stable career and strong family relationships. I agree. Thank you for this post.

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