The Martial Arts is so deep and complex, yet so simple, that it may be incomprehensible for those who know nothing about it. Styles brake things down into a curriculum, spoon feeding a beginner, who is like an infant who most likely will benefit from it. However there comes a time when all people must feed themselves. A beginner occupies the cognitive stage of learning. They must think very hard about what they are doing because the techniques do not come natural to them. After a while, the practitioner will have entered the associative stage. For them now, they can execute techniques in a semi-efficient way. They still have to think but not as much as before because it's becoming natural to them. They are still learning from their 'style' and are becoming formalised. Eventually the student will enter the autonomous stage, meaning that performing martial techniques is now natural for them. The practitioner now needs to become formless. The practitioner is now must personalise his or her martial skills and express them from the heart. This is what adds the Art to Martial. The expression from within.
This is one way to the path of becoming a Martial Artist. Perhaps the most common. It is kind of like the development from child, to adolescent, to adult. However it's important to always keep in mind that there is a difference between being educated, and being schooled. A schooled Martial Artist is asleep. They generally don't know how to think outside their curriculum. They understand their curriculum (curriculum = artificial), but have know idea of their true self. An educated Martial Artist may have never been in a Martial Art school. They most likely would be more confident and familiar with who they are. Their entire way would be very authentic to themselves. I have never met a living example of this. Martial Artists who have taken this path, to have developed from cognitive to the autonomous stage are extremely rare. A fictional example might be Mr. Miyagi from 'The Karate Kid'. It's like the difference of growing up in a mainstream school, and being home educated (home schooled). I have experienced both. In fact I might wright a blog about my experiences with this in the future.
There are many different paths to take become educated in anything, even the Martial Arts.
Most true Martial Artists in our western society's (who are often hidden like the Ninja) would have started in schools. I still after 5 years practice at the local Taekwondo school, but I don't consider myself a "Taekwondoist", I consider myself someone who wishes to express himself honestly (Art) through the execution of combative (Martial) techniques. The school helped me get started on my journey in the Martial Arts. I still like going because it provides me with a partner to practice self defence techniques on, I get a good work out, and I enjoy socialising and teaching others. At home I am different. I am me. I work on my own expression. So basically I have made it all work for me. The martial techniques I execute is my paint brush; the world/Universe is my canvas.
There is a concern that many students in traditional schools never attempt the grow as individuals, and are always happy to be spoon fed. The school is okey with this because the longer they stunt the students development, the longer they get paid. This is corruption, not True Martial Art. The worst part is that the instructors often don't know they're doing it. This is something to be wary of for traditional Martial Art schools. I've seen it first hand at the local Taekwondo club. However I often tell these misguided individuals quotes like "The true way is no way". Most of the time they have no idea what I'm talking about. But that doesn't stop me from giving them hints. One day they might understand. It just takes time. And time is something I have for true Martial Arts, because it's something I love.
Thank You for reading my blog.