“Motivation for the New Year,” by Jake McKee

“We martial arts addicts are a strange bunch, I’ll be the first to admit that.From an outsiders perspective, we train over and over how to beat someone up or respond to a violent situation. Of course to us ‘insiders’, our training is much more than that. We are training our bodies and forging our spirits. We are concerned not so much with winning or losing but about learning and deepening our understanding of the arts that have been passed down for decades and in some cases centuries.

It was thinking along these lines that got me wondering. What motivates some of the long term practitioners and instructors to keep training day after day, year after year?
I put this question out there to 4 people that I admire and respect: Ellis Amdur, George Ledyard, Joe Thambu and Seishiro Endo. Here are their replies:”

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  1. As teachers, we should be able to explain the process by which we have been inspired and have been maintaining our motivation to continue our shugyo in spite of obstacles and hardships.

    Simply describing our experience may temporarily stimulate students, but as soon as they have returned to their regular environment, it’s back to routine.

    “Oh that’s the way Sensei is!” one often hears, when the teaching should bring the student to think “That’s the way he made himself!”

    Every one’s story is unique. But true motivation doesn’t occur by chance, as most people believe. We make it happen!
    There are some principles common to every one’s experience.

    Please share those with all of us.

    Thank you.

    Patrick Augé

  2. …in a general sense of course i care about winning. i started aikido in order to develop tools to do that. i felt i needed them and, fairly ridiculously considering where i live, still feel that way. the specific reasons are incredibly tedious. in any given situation, of course, thinking about winning, or, God spare us, losing is a fatal time waster.

    but the benefits go far beyond technical proficiency. after a while training is a state of being. who am i? at this point aikido is an integral part of my body and spirit.

    there’s also the physical aspect. am i fit because i train, or do i train because i’m fit? living in a strong, healthy body is a pleasure. the price is a little sweat and hard breathing every day. the collateral reward is putting a slightly better polish on my technical skills. so the circle closes.

  3. Charles…maybe both is why you can…?

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