What does it mean to be serious about your training? Does it mean you are always straight faced at the dojo? Does it mean you are very formal? Does it mean you are very regimented and organized?
For me, it means something else.
This past weekend I got to teach at a wonderful training camp in Quebec Canada. We had a great time training and we had a lot of laughs. I caused some confusion however, because as usual I was enjoying myself and making jokes, but at times I got very serious speaking about the differences between proper taijutsu and using muscular force along with the very distinct difference between sports like martial arts and our ninpo taijutsu, especially when training on the ground.
Some of the people there thought I was angry because they had never seen this ‘serious’ side of my training. If you have trained with me you know I like to have fun but you should never confuse a jovial attitude with a lack of respect for this art or my teachers. I am very serious about training for real life situations where your life is literally on the line. Our art provides all the tools to help you survive a violent conflict if used with good taijutsu.
Some of the people training at the camp were in law enforcement. I would be derelict in my duties as an instructor if I didn’t take their training seriously. The women I met there all took the threats they face everyday very seriously and they deserve to have their instructors do the same.
I love to have fun and joke around but our art is not a sport to be played. Lives are on the line and I have to take that responsibility seriously. I can’t just believe I know what I’m doing and preach it to others. I have to test it scientifically and be sure to pass on only what I know works from my own experiences training. You deserve nothing less.
So if you meet me at an upcoming training I’ll probably have on a silly shirt and make a joke with you but if you want to talk training for your safety bend your knees, it’s about to get serious.