This post is from Albany, NY Study Group leader Tony DiSarro:
Thoughts on training:
After a very good weekend of training in Daito Ryu, with Goldberg Sensei, here are some thoughts on training and continued study in martial arts.
I've trained in martial arts for 30+ years now, and the one constant is that the more I learn and am exposed to, the more I realize how much I do not know.
The only way to really develop understanding and skill, is to continue to train and work hard. There are no secrets in the martial arts, no magic technique or super powers that are passed on behind closed doors. The people that become successful and develop skill work very hard and remain humble in their pursuit of proficiency. It is important to work on technique and fundamentals of your respective art to develop basic skills and body awareness, but it is also important to practice against unwilling non cooperative opponents in a stressful environment to see if those skill sets translate appropriately. All body awareness skills are important to develop to become a better martial artist. If you only work with people that allow you to do what you do so that it is successful, you are not seeking truth in your training but instead are trying to validate that what you do works. In Daito Ryu, at least the way we train it, we work in a traditional format initially to develop skills through waza (technique) But as Sensei tells us, it is more important to develop the body, and awareness in the body to be an effective practitioner. Eventually technique is irrelevant, and the movements just happen. Mat time is vitally important to ones growth! You can be analytical and try to theorize and intellectualize all you want, but if you can't execute because you haven't trained the body properly, then all your time spent trying to compartmentalize concepts and principles, is wasted.
I've observed many people who try to over complicate the principles in there martial arts in an attempt to seem like a very sophisticated scholarly practitioner, but they don't actually practice very basic fundamental skills over and over again on the mat, with many different partners. As they say, you can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?
As you train, regardless of your time in, or skill level, it is important to remain a pure student. One who is willing to fail and make mistakes so that you can grow from them and continue to seek truth in your journey. If you only seek success and accolades, then you will be more prone to only do things that appease your ego. This is a severe detriment to your growth.
Stay on the path to truth in your training, the only way to do that is to not be afraid to fail. Work hard and train! One of the dangers, especially for teachers or instructors, is that they only want to teach or be the Sensei, and not continue to be a student. I see this and hear it all the time in the martial arts world. People talking about teaching or developing some new martial arts theory in their art, but rarely about the training they are doing personally.
Here's the wake up call to those people. If you are not sweating, sore,bruised and battered after you train, you are not growing!
Stop wasting time trying to be successful by talking about what you know in the martial arts, and spend more time doing! Train train train! Because the bottom line is this, If you can't do what you practice when it counts, then you've failed in your training.
With that being said, tomorrow when you step on the mat, train hard spend less time intellectualizing what you do and just train!