The Point

pencil-147130_640For every true martial artist, there is “the point.” For me, it was last night’s class.

I was feeling very confident going into last night’s sword class. Though just a beginner, my last class was my best to date. I did 14 cuts and they were my best results. Granted, they will never be used in a “How To” video. Nevertheless, as a neophyte, they were a solid building block.

Cutting is a most enjoyable yet stressful action (as least for me). It is both my favorite part of sword training and the most difficult and dangerous. The sword is as sharp as a surgical instrument and unlike the latter, the sword is 27-28 inches long. Think of a 2 1/2 foot or so razor. Perhaps that is where the intrigue comes into play.

In addition to my teacher and fellow classmates, we were honored with a special guest Instructor last night. The scene was set. . . and blew it. . . .repeatedly.

My kata was filled with (even more than the usual) errors and I barely made it through half my cuts. The ONE time I really, really wanted to put forth my best foot was one of my worst times in terms of “performance.” It was here that I encountered “the point.”

“The point” is the repeated inner dialogue that brings you to the brink of a decision – Do I stay or do I quit?

On the one side, the inner dialogue is convincing, albeit deceitful. “You reeeeaaaaly don’t like this if you think about it. It is too tough. It is easier to do something else. Anything else.”

Logically, it seems like Truth. Lies can do that. Open your heart and you know it is just a part of you trying to protect you from fear. The feeling of Truth will always overpower deceit.

It was “the point,” the moment when you either step it up, suck it up and train, knowing that the path chosen is not easy. Just rewarding beyond measure.

Or quit.

The Masters have “the point” moments as well as the white belts. The former moves beyond them, addresses their fears and continuing along a life-long path of personal growth and martial arts mastery.

The latter becomes frog-like, jumping from one martial art or other subject to another, like Kermit hopping from one lily pad to the next.

I do not know if I will ever achieve mastery with the sword. Truth be told, I do not know if I will ever get half the cuts done in a semi-correct fashion in my lifetime. I do know that I will overcome my fears or at least, befriend them.

Perhaps that is the real point of martial arts after all.