“忍 – Endurance and Spirit Training,” by Dan Djurdjevic

“For me this character has special resonance with martial arts training. It reflects not only the years of blood, sweat and tears poured onto the dojo floor; it also reflects the psychological challenges, the fears, the disappointments. In one word it conjures all the barriers that have confronted me along my martial journey. Some of these I have overcome. Others have bested me. Yet, despite the latter, what is critical is this; I do not define myself by the moments where I lay defeated in a crumpled heap. I choose to define myself by the moment I picked my sorry self up again.”

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  1. I can’t for the life of me see the need to brutalise beginners and it harms more than it teaches. People with a need to misbehave in this way are the most cowardly type of criminal who cause harm from the safe hiding place of a dojo on the pretext that it is purposeful. They have a need to vent but lack the guts to meet the big wide, real world of authentic high risk in the service of others.
    Dojos give themselves too much importance. More than they are warranted.
    Look, if it’s military attrition you want, join the special forces and true to form they will weed out the weaklings until only the born to kill freaks survive. Sort of survive, because in the process they may become unsuitable for normal society. But at least they may serve in someone’s protection at some stage.
    Injuries teach you nothing. If anything, they should teach you to take time out and heal properly, or you are likely to end up with chronic problems.
    A dojo who misuses the idea of “rank,” a meaningless item anyhow since nobody will be deployed to military service, most being abject cowards, a dojo who misuses the idea of “rank,” to brutalise weak, uncoordinated, frightened, weak people should come under legal scrutiny.
    Properly taught, even the most fragile and timid do in fact empower themselves to a point they become extremely capable and proficient without losing their humanity, in fact enhancing it.
    Then, as you see with true sanseis, they do indeed appear to brutalise THE SENIOR students who are expected to be able to EXEMPLIFY something resembling martial aptitude.
    Mental illnesses should be left outside with your shoes. Better, seek psychiatric help.
    Dan, pardon me, as I don’t have all the facts before me, but you sound like an idiot for putting up with all the unnecessary shit. If it has somehow made you a better person, then I take back this statement.
    All my life I’ve watched both types. There is a trend. Two trends. The kind and considerate dojos who produce better human beings, injury free, capable, awesome fighters yet peaceful and productive members of society.
    And the idiots. Who harm, damage, injure and prove nothing except they seriously need help. Their students are usually inept fighters, cowards when the REAL THING has to be confronted outside the dojo. Most from these deranged strands are considerably damaged individuals, psychically, mentally, morally and carrying chronic injuries. Most, in the course of time stop training and talk a lot about what they “used to do.” Ad nauseam. And these stories get embellished with the telling. Invite them to try out and they prove inept, incompetent, incapable and full of excuses. The remainder, the “successful” ones are in a jail somewhere.
    I could fill an encyclopaedia with both type of story. A classic was one who “had a black” belt given to him by his friend another, so-so “sensei” of sorts. This guy was willing and ready to bully and injure children, newbies and uncoordinated people or victims of abuse seeking help in learning to defend themselves. This fellow was forever alluding to his vain imagining about himself being an “accomplished martial artist.” Most of this was based on the ability to quote stuff out of books or simply effect unwarranted harm on trusting training partners with sneaky surpasses and king hits. The guy is a turd. Eventually that dojo’s membership dropped to next to nothing, resembling a train wreck of injuries and abuses, not excluding the perpetrators who had a knack of walking into things, not least their own dishonour. One day some junkies broke into this fellows shop and he caught them emptying the till. He slapped one. They ran. He then ran to the back of the shop so scared, he messed his pants and locked himself in a room in a state of fear.
    So much for “accomplished” hothouse plants. Tell us instead about real live risk serving life in the course of protection. Then I’ll be impressed. Not hydroponic dojos where the shape is big, but the spirit of budo is missing.

  2. There’s also the third trend of combat inept dancey-yoga, but they don’t count as martial anything.

  3. Lol! I’ve been an idiot many times in my life, and probably will continue to do so.

    However I hope that I won’t keep being an idiot in the same way. In other words, I’d like to think I have learned from past mistakes (at least to some extent).

    I look back at events and try to see the positives (and there are generally always positives, even if they amount to “don’t do that again”!).

    Learning from this “spirit training” is one such thing. Would I recommend this to you or anyone? No. Do I choose to teach this way? In my own 25 years of teaching I have never done so, nor shall I ever do so. It’s not my “cup of tea”.

    I hope my story gives you and other readers some vicarious benefit (even if it is to know what an ordinary man/woman can withstand when “push come to shove”). It would be a sad day indeed if my own story was one of bitterness, anger and regret; if I saw nothing “gained” from the pain, if it had been a complete waste of time.

    In the end, I choose to see what I have “gained”. If I could do it over, I don’t think I would do the same things. But then again, I speak with hindsight and my current knowledge. For better or worse, your life’s journey defines who your are. I’d like to think that the “bitter pills” I’ve taken over the years have defined me in a good way (at least I hope they have!).

    Thanks for reading, and be well!

    PS: For what it’s worth, I wasn’t a beginner at this stage of my martial journey.

  4. Dan, Join the club. I think we all learn our strongest lessons in the fires of attrition and our mistakes become the beginnings of learning curves whereby hopefully we can provide a better path for others that follow. Good wishes.

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