Time is a very valuable thing to most of us. One way that I use my time, when I am not working, training, researching, or writing, is to read. Recently, I grabbed one slim, white book that I know I read years prior: Joe Hyams’ Zen in the Martial Arts. I remember one of the many anecdotes and tales Hyams wrote and it really stuck with me since. Funny enough, when I opened the book to a random page, I found myself at the “Do Not Disturb” chapter, to where Hyams, Bruce Lee, and screenwriter Stirling Silliphant discuss the meaning of time and its relation to others, which was the anecdotes that I remembered well. In only two short pages, Hymas recalled something profound in the three-way conversation. The moral was not to waste time with people or on things that would steal your time away, leaving you with nothing in return, but rather spend time with people and things that would give you something in return. Of course, the three men were talking about people who eat up one’s time only for their gain or pleasure. However, I would like to take it a bit further and apply it to martial arts training.
Regardless of your chosen martial art, training is a key element to achieving proficiency and mastery. When you walk into the dojo, all outside problems and thoughts melt away as the challenges of training take hold in your mind and being. There are times, however, when our mind wanders to other topics, outside of the dojo, and we go through the movements. I am sure we have all had those types of days. We must be mindful of those days and tell ourselves that time is of the essence!
In training, we have no idea how long we have in any chosen art. We may find a new job or move to a new area that forces us to quit or reduce the number of hours we can give to training. Therefore, every time we step onto the mat, make the most of it. Be ready to absorb the information being presented and sweat out the frustration, since this training is for ourselves – make sure we get something out of it. Spend the time to understand and apply what is being taught; do not waste it on matters of the outside world. The only world that is important when we walk into the dojo is the dojo world.
What if we cannot get back into our training space because of the current situation? Who says that a dojo has to be a specific building we travel to? The world is our dojo and anything and everything we do in life can be a small training session to reapply concepts and mechanics we would normally use in regular training. If we blocked out time to train beforehand, we can certainly do so now. And in doing so, we begin to spend time on something that will give you pleasure.
Time is of the essence, and much like the Bruce Lee training graph, if you’re not training, go train!