With our annual Fall Festival just days away, there is a topic that I often find in the forefront of my mind as I approach any training event. I like to go into these annual events (or really any time I get to work with my teacher) with an eye out for what I call ‘magical moments’.
We all enjoy this art, and we all believe in our teachers, of course. But sometimes we can get hooked into the idea that there is another time and place that had better training, more authentic training, more of the ‘secret’ training. We’ve all heard stories from our teachers about their experiences and find ourselves wishing we had been at ‘that’ event or involved ‘back then.’ There is something good in hearing those stories. They remind us of the bigness of our art, and the timelessness of our art.
But we can also fall into the trap that there really was a ‘better’ time than now. There isn’t. This is the best time ever to be training in our martial art. Last week ‘was’ the best time ever to be training in our martial art. But we’re past that now. Now is an even better time. Whenever I head into a training event with my teacher, I’m always on the lookout for magical moments that remind me that this really is the time to train. And I have never been disappointed.
So what is a magical moment? I don’t want to spell mine out with too much detail, because they can look different to everyone. For me, it is a moment in training when I have a breakthrough. It is a moment when I’m inspired by something I see my teacher do. It is a moment when my teacher says or does something that takes what I thought I knew and opens another door into that area that I never knew existed. It is a ‘you should have been there’ moment. It is a moment when I am excited all over again like this was my very first day in To-Shin Do, and I realize that there is no better time to be learning this art than right now.
I’ve found them at every event I’ve been to. But I think the secret is you have to also be looking for them, or at the very least open to them. If you think that there was a ‘golden age’ of training, you’ll miss the magic of the now, and I think, the whole point of the training. Then, years from now, you will be telling stories of your training at the annual Fall Festival and your own students will be secretly wishing they had been training back then, back in the ‘golden age’ of To-Shin Do in 2015.