In Wing Chun Kung Fu we have a saying that goes: Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. It’s something that’s repeated in many disciplines, related and unrelated to the martial arts. There’s another one, though, that is less stated, understood and applied in today’s world: You get out what you – honestly – put in.
While I lived in Terre Haute, Indiana (I don’t any more) I have met a lot of people who’ve complained about this or that martial art school, claiming they’re a “belt-for-money system” or “belt factory” or a system “that won’t work on the street”. While some of their claims are true, many of these people haven’t followed up on their complaints with adequate research for their own development; in other words, they aren’t doing what it takes to get somewhere that will empower them as they claim they want to be empowered. It discredits their criticisms.
The truth is that many people don’t want to learn to fight, or learn martial arts, or any combat self-defense system. They want the “easy way out”; They want to feed their ego. Some find schools that do just that: They’re a cafeteria for the ego-hungry. (Period emphasized.) While this works in their cafeteria – one can hardly call it a school – it does not on the street. Many of these people – one can hardly call them students, as they aren’t being empowered to fight (rather fed) – find themselves grossly inadequate when forced to defend themselves on the street, and may find themselves severely injured.
In the meantime, there are many establishments – one can hardly call them martial art schools – that are ready and willing to take someone’s money and feed their ego (and delusions). I call these establishment owners – one can hardly call them instructors – predators. They prey on the hungry in order to resource them for their own gain. While they feed themselves, they do not empower their clients – one can hardly call them students, as they aren’t being taught -; instead, they resource their clients, binding them to expensive contract-periods or inexcusable terms and conditions. (If you’ve not read my blog on how to identify these establishments, I encourage you to do so.)
But, what makes these “belt-for-money” systems and “belt factories” possible are these ego-driven people, who aren’t honestly looking to learn self-defense. And, as long as these people exist, these establishments will continue to be around and thrive.
So, if you’re looking to feed your ego, you shouldn’t have a problem finding an establishment ready to feed and resource you. But, if you’re looking to learn self-defense, you have to prepare to learn by educating yourself on the warning signs. (Again, I’d encourage you to look over many of my blogs for those warnings signs.) And, make sure you’re asking enough questions to place yourself in an empowering self-defense school; one that fits your goals.
Are you looking to compete in a specific sports competition? Then find a school that empowers you to do that.
Are you looking to empower yourself to protect yourself and family in the case you’re forced to defend yourself on the street? Then find a school that empowers you to do that.
Are you just looking to pile up a bunch of belts on the wall and show them off? Then either spend a lot of money on these belt-for-money establishments, or just go online and buy the belts. (It’s cheaper to go online, and you’ll be about as good a fighter when you’re done.)
Whatever it is, be honest with yourself; then, put the honest work in to reach your goals.
Everything in life costs something. The question isn’t just what do you want. Are you ready to honestly do what it takes to get there?
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Empower yourself to life!™
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