Guest Author - Caroline Chen-Whatley
Though I spend a great deal of time reading various periodicals, I donít always comment on them here. I did fine one particular column in November 2004ís Inside Kung-Fu that particularly struck me. Perhaps it was the author or what I have encountered recently in my life.
The article was written by Master Henry Look. If anyone has ever met him, they could understand some of my deep respect for this man. Do not be deceived by his small stature or soft, smiling face. The energy that surrounds him is amazing. I had the honor of being introduced to him through my GrandMaster Glenn C Wilson during a competition several years ago.
In this column, Master Look spoke about how students these days do not have the discipline and respect of those in the past. That we often pester the teachers for more knowledge rather than trust the judgment of our instructors to know when we are ready.
This article struck me not only because of how it reflects what Iíve seen, but also how culturally different views in the world are. In my other life outside of Martial Arts, I exist in a corporate world. My heritage teaches me not to push, not to be outwardly aggressive, hard work is rewarded. However, experience has jaded that view of the world. In corporate America, if you donít look out for yourself and fight for what you believe you deserve, you will be overlooked. Iíve had this happen to me and seen it happen to others around me.
But listen to what I say Ė in my other life. Martial Arts is a way of life, not something that you keep for just one segment or when itís convenient for your schedule. Even I struggle with this concept. In todayís world we have this concept of ďhats.Ē We change our hats to change the roles we are in and how we act and what we do.
Martial Arts teaches us differently, especially the internal aspects of the art. It teaches us that we are a whole, a complete system. From the breathing to the movements to the thoughts. They must all align as one to function, not separate parts of us.
Of those who I have seen embody this concept, they seem to have success both in their Martial Arts lives as well as their careers and all other aspects of who they are. Perhaps it is time for more of us to embody this concept. Perhaps we can begin a trend in this world that will help the way of life that Martial Arts embodies into the mainstream once more.
Perhaps we can answer the calls to arms from teachers such as Master Look and really make a difference in how the world is. A great time to start is TODAY.