Guest Author - Caroline Chen-Whatley
Hello my friends! Itís time for me to disappear from the world and immerse myself into Martial Arts for a week as I travel to the annual International Pai Lum Tao Conference in Orlando, Florida.
This is perhaps one of the highlights of my year, a chance to get together people whom Iíve grown to love and respect. Many of these folks have watched me grow from my first tentative steps to where I stand now. Some of them Iíve helped to grow into the martial artists they are today.
To me, the people I interact with here are more than just members of a group, they really are an extended family. If I need help, if Iím looking to learn something new, if I just want to talk, I can go to them in an open, supportive environment. Though Martial Arts is filled with competitions and judging whoís above whom, I donít sense this within the succinct group know as the Pai Lum Tao family. Competition is with others but within our group we support one another.
I think this is an important aspect of Martial Arts that doesnít always get the attention it deserves. Many people, including some martial artists, fear this type of closeness and openness. That somehow sharing information amongst those you are in the same system with will somehow make you less worthy.
In some ways, their fears are correct. In the dark history of Martial Arts, there are many stories you will come to hear about bad blood between people, falling out, splitting off. In fact, youíll probably hear this about anything you read. Itís a fact of human nature.
But I believe that only until you find a Martial Arts group which you can truly be open with those that train with you can you excel as a martial artist and a person.
To me thatís the essence of a Martial Arts family.
So as I am off enjoying my week with them, I hope that on your journeys into the Martial Arts world you too can find a family like mine. Who knows, perhaps one day I will be able to call you my Pai Lum Tao brother or sister!