Sadie in Mansfield writes:
My question is, should I continue to pursue training in the Japanese style martial arts that I first started practicing in 2000? I used to live in California and my teacher and younger brother were nearby. I was never an avid student but it changed my life and I adored it and the people who were involved. I even got to train in Japan for two weeks. My quandary is that I now live in Missouri, am self-employed and the nearest thing I have found to what I practiced before is Aikido but, it is 110 miles round trip twice a week.
I have gone to their class in spurts of ambition but something always seem to throw a wrench in my plans to go. Tornados, floods blown tires, I’m not kidding and now with gas as high as it is, I’m wondering if the universe is trying to tell me something. Problem is, I dream about it, the techniques and the whole experience and I wake up thinking it’s a sign I should be studying. I adore the people in the class here too. But no sooner do I get in the car and start heading towards Springfield then Tornado, flood, blown tire – even an ice storm! Anyway is it time to move on.
You do have a quandary! I have nothing that says your path with studying martial arts is over, but logistically, you are challenged. It really isn’t feasible, time-wise or monetarily, to become more regular with your practice in Springfield. (Maybe in a year or two that will be a viable option, as your finances are going to increase significantly in that time.)
You tend to think big, and think traditionally. Please allow me to throw a wrench in the works for you. Rather than focus on a class or a group, think more intimately. Being amongst many is fun and has its benefits, but what you need is more of a teacher/partner dynamic. This doesn’t always come in the form of a sanctioned and accredited dojo… sometimes it is the guy 20 minutes away in his basement or backyard.
If I were you, I’d spend the time and post a couple of ads on the net in forums that are geographically geared to your area, as well as some old-fashioned print ads. Share a little about the traditions you have studied, and your goals for keeping sharp and learning more. You just may be surprised at the response that seems to come out of the woodwork. Some will be people to practice and spar with, but there is one dark haired Caucasian man who’s study and dedication to the art belies his years. He has the trophy room to prove it. It seems as if he has studied many styles, Aikido being one of the more popular, but his whole blend of experience and knowledge seems to be something that would benefit and elevate you in both theory and style.
It is said that when the student is ready, the teacher will come. Who knows? The day may come when a student makes an unknowing teacher out of you!