A Small Thing…
While out at Sequoia National Park with my family recently, we made a trip to the Crystal Caves in the park. Like many cave tours, there were lights strung about, an easy path for safe navigation, and everyone followed the cave rule of “Leave no trace.”
The “Leave no trace” rule is very critical in micro-ecosystems such as those in caves. Caves are filled mainly with very small insects as its residents, and as such, a small amount of food can sustain generations of insects. So let’s think of what would happen if a piece of candy were to be left in a cave miles long?
…A Big Effect
Whatever insect stumbles upon the feast first would no longer have to worry about searching through the pitch-black, empty caves, tracking or trapping its prey. It has the candy to sustain it. That candy would even sustain the insect’s children, its children’s children and maybe even its children’s children’s children. Once that candy is finally (slowly) finished off, what then? Will the great-great-grandchildren of the insect have the skills to search, track or trap its prey?
You probably come to the conclusion of “No.” The generations later of insects have been far removed of the need for the skill set of finding their own food. Similar effects happen throughout life. If you had to start a fire without the aid of matches or a lighter, could you easily do it? This removal of knowledge has happened often in the martial arts world, as groups of individuals have carved out their own systems with them at the top such that their answers cannot therefore be challenged.
Focus on a “tree” while ignoring the “forest”
This is how there are hundreds of “styles” out there. These instructors found their “candy” and for them, it is the end all, be all. But the martial sciences we train in at KoSho predates those styles by over 2500 years. Do you know why, in an attention stance, it is crucial to keep your fingers tight and your thumbs tucked (with effort) at your side? If not, I encourage you to ask a sensei, and if you have friends who train in a different method, ask them.
If you did/do not know the martial application, if you were to instruct other students and observe their “lazy hands,” would you know to correct them? In many martial arts, instructors are simply students who have trained for years. If their instructor did not take careful time to evaluate consistency of each student’s form, technique and application, that student will not know the value and martial application of the form. Form always must follow function.
A KoSho Difference
KoSho students have a privilege to train with instructors who have undergone stringent training and tests of knowledge, understanding, and a depth of this knowledge to pass onto others. With such a background, I encourage you never to be afraid to ask the “why” of what and how we do things. You can choose to be the insect who eats a candy for all their life, or be someone who can find their own source of variable nourishment (and maybe have those candies once in awhile).