I'm writing this in a massive sulk.
I'm talking lip out, throwing things around, big mardy sulk.
I had been planning for weeks, no, months to go up to Aberdeenshire to play with my friends and fellows in Dog Brothers Martial Arts. Scotty Dog, a Dog Brother up in Banchory had gone to a lot of trouble to organise a fantastic weekend of martial arts and entertainment. I was psyched to go. Unfortunately circumstances meant that I couldn't go.
So I'm feeling like a complete heel, letting my friends down on top of missing out on some first class workshops and the chance to spar with some top Kali fighters.
But do you know what? I'll get over it. My friends will also get over it and forgive me for messing up. Sure they'll call me some choice names with a laugh, but they'll forgive me.
Martial arts, particularly Filipino Martial Arts, and more specifically Dog Brothers Martial Arts is like that.
We mess up. Sometimes things don't go right for us. Sometimes it's our fault, sometimes it's beyond our control, sometimes it's someone else letting us down.
Often it's in practice. We feel dumb, we sulk because there's one particular thing eluding us. Maybe we keep getting clocked in sparring by the same technique. Perhaps our complimentary hand still feels like we've slept on it whenever we work siniwali. But we get through it.
Yes getting through stuff requires work and patience. For me I picked up a knife, worked some karenza then proceeded to do some maintenance work on my pocket knife, i.e. sharpening it and grinding out some of the chips in the blade that heavy use and abuse had caused. Then when that made me feel a little better, I booted up the PC and began to put my thoughts down here.
For those who feel things aren't going well in practice, those who are getting fed up that they feel they aren't making the progress that they feel they should be; well here's some advice. Carry on. We all mess up. Things don't always go as planned. Talk to your coach and keep practicing, particularly in your own time.
Often when people are just starting out they come to me almost conspiratorially and confess a massive sin; They've broken a light shade. Or better yet, a light bulb. Or perhaps their husband's favourite vase, practicing some of the solo work in their living room at home. Let me tell you, nothing makes me prouder than to hear that someone has done that. It means that the art is becoming part of them, that they are willing to put in the hours and hours of practice that it takes to become proficient in Kali, in fact at anything.
Of course I tell them to keep at it, that I'm proud of them for practicing at home, but perhaps they might be better off going outside to do it.
We've all been there, those of us who are group leaders, teachers, instructors, Guros. Going through hard times, not being able to get to an event or training session because life gets in the way. Having an injury that prevents us from training. The key is, the thing that separates the wannabes, the I-used-to-do-thats and the instructors, coaches, group leaders and Guros is persistence. Standing up, saying I'm sorry I couldn't do that, then getting right back in there and carrying on.