After reading an article on LinkedIn, I started thinking about the concept of being professional. I have had several teachers come into my world who have such great knowledge and a strong passion. They taught me a lot and fed my passion. This step to become truly professional, though, has been tough. The business aspects of the martial arts are my struggle.
Recently, my insecurities were pointed out and I was forced to step up. The change has been long coming but not taken as I didn’t feel I deserved the role. It was pointed out by a handful of people from inside and outside the martial arts that I have the education/knowledge and the capabilities to do the work. Even though I felt like an impostor, I had to step it up and do the work.
For the better part of my Taekwondo training, I have been searching for history about where my lineage, curriculum and the training concepts came from. That’s been a struggle with how fractured Korean martial arts are. This lack of knowledge gathering provided a catalyst for feeling inadequate when I was around traditional Japanese and Okinawan martial artists who could recite their lineage back to the beginning of time.
Now, 35 years later, I’ve finally gotten over it! Well, I’ve had the chance over the past couple years to make some connections that turned my thought process about training and technique development. It has also been influenced (after originally feeling inadequate around them) by several teachers who are all 13 to 22 years younger than me. Their knowledge, capabilities and understanding are so far beyond mine that I wondered why I was even there, but then “Beginner’s Mind” returned…eventually… and reminded me to just learn.
After being annoyed that these youngsters had better words for the same material and observations became prideful that I could call them teachers (and friends). The most influential piece came when one of these younger teachers recognized that it was time to step into the role that he had been avoiding because he didn’t feel ready. His change seemed to have come after much meditation and inner struggle. he knew he had to take the role…and the title that went with it…because everything had grown to the point that, not only was it deserved, it was necessary.
This is where my thoughts about stepping into the more professional role started in earnest. Several things have developed and grown since. Opportunities have started appearing (at least being more obvious). The step will be a good one. I’m already happier because of taking this challenge.
While I keep training and learning, I will continue to support and promote those who are moving the world and the martial arts forward. If you ever have the chance, you should make sure to take the time to train with…
Marshall Parnell, Senior Chief Master of the USA Haidong Gumdo Association
Marc MacYoung, No Nonsense Self Defense
Rory Miller, Chiron Training
Kasey Keickeisen, Kancho of the Keishoukan Dojo & Midwest Regional Director for the Edo Machi-Kata Taiho Jutsu
Randy King, KPCombat Reality Based Self Defense
If these teachers don’t enlighten you further about martial arts training, self defense/personal protection and life, then you are missing the point. Thank you, Sirs!