There are as many ways to train as their are people who train in martial arts.
Some will spend a fortune to travel and train. They need the bright lights and glory, regardless of if they are actually learning something or not.
Others train in relative silence. They need the solitude and yin energy to hone their skills and listen to what their body is saying.
Still others mix and match and come up with unique and creative ways.
Most find a teacher and if they connect, they devote their time and energy to them.
Personally, I have found the latter to be the most effective way. I have had the great fortune of finding a teacher (2 actually) and spending 95% of the time learning with them. They get to know you as an individual, your tendencies, skills and weakness and tailor make classes or sessions to improve the soft areas.
In the process of learning the “outside” work, a truly great teacher sets the stage for the inner work, the work that makes you a better person more than a martial artist. When this happens, you know you have found the person(s) that are a fit for you. It is in this moment, you crossed the line from Instructor to Teacher.
Being a Teacher as always been my dream. Yes, I love the art of Systema. It is a powerful and effective form of self defense. However, in this day and age of cameras, social media and lawyers on every corner, getting into fights is neither recommended nor admirable. In other words, there has to be a bigger reason for teaching and training. (If you are military or with the police, this article is not for you.)
Each time I teach, I learn. The other day was a classic example:
“I finally fit in somewhere.”
That was their response, unsolicited but raw and honest. I felt overwhelmed with happiness and humbled at the same time. Nothing else I could show in terms of movement or knife defense or ground work could ever compare to that statement. In fact, I seriously doubt anything ever will.
It is not about the grandiose training or exotic locations or how many times you met Vlad or Michael or how many movements you can perform. Yes, those are great. At the end of the day, it is about making a difference in someone else’s life.
Thank you “X” for saying this to me. You made a huge difference in my life!