Martial Arts Failures

One Man's 30 year journey from Martial Arts failure to success

Silat oh Silat where are you?

At age 54 I discovered a deadly art(and it truly is a complete art with breathing,meditation and energy work included) called Silat that in a quick nutshell  is an art with the strategy to end all fights on contact. The problem IMHO for me is it relies too much on leg conditioning and  over reliance on Jurus(forms) yet when doing fighting drills it is the most flowing art I have ever seen. I love it. Yet now at 55, I haven’t been to that class in almost a year. One reason is I am always running behind myself it seems. This is what one gets when you decide to go to bed at 5am rather than rising at 5am.

SOLUTION: I am going to try rising at 5am, which I am sure is about the time most of the ancient masters in China, Japan and elsewhere arose. Can you imagine O’sensei, Mas Oyama or Wang Chiang Zhai and  Willem’Uncle Bill’   De Thaurus waking at 9 or 10am? They would probably be so ashamed they would think they were severely ill!  Maybe that is the biggest secret of success in the arts. Being a very “early riser.” Do we know of many or even any really great martial artists that are nocturnal and sleep till noon every day?  Opinions……….?


Goal keeper needed

Very soon we are going to need a goal keeper here. We will have all the members write down their monthly and yearly martial goals, and I’d like someone to organize the format and maybe even put the right people together to buddy up with. I’m thinking in groups of three. Two doesn’t work well. Why? If you don’t do your goal, chances are your buddy isn’t doing his either. But 3 ,that’s another person you are responsible for. The best businesses succeeded with three people to start. Apple, Microsoft, etc.


I have now missed 2 weeks of training due to becoming sidetracked and also lethargic from way too many negative or stressful thoughts that leave me little desire to get in my car and go to train when class time comes.

I specifically arranged my life so I could work and do most things at my convenience, and look at what still happens. Let us explore why. Most of my working life from around 33 onward, I said to myself, “If only I could take 2 years off from working and just train, I could do this and that and blah, blah.blah. And for years I kept that goal in mind. Now that I can pretty much do it, I am weighted down with horrific personal “stuff” that is like tossing glue into the gears of my brain. My mother passed away,  I lost my relationship with all of my dearest friends since childhood, my sister whom I counted on for us to be there for each other when this happened has turned into a person I am not proud to call my sister. We havent talked for 3 months. (What I never realized was we never talked for 47 years since she was alive.), and I lost the only job I ever felt at home in, because of someones spite.

“That’s the past. Go out there and be the peaceful warrior you’ve always wanted to be, go and have some fun out of life. Stop sitting home feeling sorry for yourself. You can just spend all day training no,finally. Yeaaaaaaaaaaahhhh!!!!! Lets do It!!!!!!” That is what I have been telling myself for a long time now. So why have I missed 2 weeks? Is it because I am still single and come home to an empty silent condo every night, is it the loss of my mother and sister? Is it the fact that I am now age 53 and am I just slowing down?

All of these guesses may be correct. But, here is the problem. I don’t think about much else besides Martial Arts, I beat myself up when I do not attend class, so what is wrong?  I cannot win either way. If I make a decision to go to class no matter what, I start getting depressed and keep checking my watch. If I tell myself to take another 6 months off from martial arts and try a new class or art, I find that stressful as well. I also realize that at my age, every day counts. Every single day! What is a Warrior to do but to train?

Besides, I have found a teacher that can flow unlike anyone else I have ever seen. Do I want to look back with regret and disgust as I have with 2 or 3 other teachers and say…”Why didnt I stick to this class?!!! I cannot live thru that again. So………….It appears the only thing I can do is to re-frame the experience of training. Yes I am a 53-year-old trying to keep up with 22 year olds. But you have the experience over most of them. And your age gives you other things as well. So I will be there tomorrow. Yes I will!


If you could have done one thing different from the beginning in your Martial Arts training


Throughout the years, many different schools, many different teachers, private lessons, regular classes, seminars, a trip with a fellow student home, certain things said to me, stayed with me for life. And  a great weight I have carried is there are so few who could appreciate what the weight of  a profound comment , that “ahhhh haaaa” moment, when you appreciate what is said, but do not know what to do with it…at the time,anyway. So please allow me to bore you with some of the comments that I have stored on my mental hard drive the oldest one is actually 35 years old. Wow, am I getting up there! In fact, let me start off with that exact quote, from the teacher from the first Karate/martial arts school I ever visited. I was 18 years old, stationed in Baton Rouge, LA.  I was a body builder, not a martial artist…yet. But being there were no gyms for many miles from my ship, but there was a karate school maybe 20 minutes away I decided to go check out what an actual class looked like. So after calling the school and “asking permission” to observe a class, after it was over, the teacher started taking just to me as he waved good bye to all the out going students. And he said: Did you see how well that particular fellow you were watching could punch? He is only with me one year. But the teacher  said, I ask my students to practice their punching at least 50 times a day on each side no matter what. He then said something that hit me over the head. He said:





1-” Fifty punches doesnt really sound like very much, does it. But if you do that daily for a year, thats 18,250 punches! You tend to become pretty good at something after you have done it 18,000 times, dont you?”

Bam! Baseball bat right over my head. I shook his hand and said I would let him know. On my way home I said to myself, “Naaaaa, 50 times a day is just a few minutes. Waste of time. Let me do it 250 times on each side so I can do 500 punches a day and that would equal 182,000 punches per year. Now that’s punching!” So I did 500punches the first day, by day 2 I was sore as a lame horse, and by day 3 I became totally frustrated and bored with Karate, quit practicing and never went back. This is what often happens when you start an “art” as a teenager who does not know his own limits or have a true concept of time. Years later I realized I wished I did those 18,250 punches. Want me to get really sick. Times that by 35 which is how many years I would have been doing that. I don’t even want to know the number, I would throw up. I was then, and for 25 years since, thinking in terms of a long time being 6 months. What can I get out of something in 6 months was always the question to most everything I did in Martial Arts. It isn’t a bad question, just an incomplete one. Do we all agree?

Hello world!

A first of its kind blog. A home for Martial arts “Bums”, those who never felt like they fit in at any particular school for very long, couldn’t really connect with the people in the Martial Arts community or just knock-a-rounds who just cant seem to find their place in the Martial Arts world. But be warned, this is a place where frustrating memories are sometimes torn open and re-examined because this is a place that is both a path going forward and a reflection of the past going back, as well as to center ourself right here and now and have it all be OK.

Whether your thing is  traditional Aikido, Karate or Hsing-I, to the  jungle arts like Silat, Kali, Escrima, to pure “street” combative arts like Systema, Krav Maga, Jeet-Kun-Do,etc., you are welcome here. As long as you understand what you are taking is indeed actually an ART! (This failure to differentiate an art from just a self-defense system is one of the major mistakes most of us make in our first years of training. Is your art, either…neither…or both!? Also if you are new to Martial Arts or any kind of combat fighting or realistic street self defense, you might learn from my 30 years of mistakes and others here. But no snide comments please. This is about forming a group of spiritual soldiers to walk the rest of our journey in camaraderie with no judgement.  Both Men and women are invited. I am over 50 years old myself, so I hope to find more mature people here both in age and in mind. You are welcome to comment here but remember God gave us 2 ears and only 1 mouth. Introduce yourself as soon as you get here, tell us a bit about your background and what you currently train in, and kick back and enjoy. The ultimate goal here for me is to get myself in the proper rhythmic groove,,zone and place, to bring back the joy and the dreams I had in my 30’s about all I could feel and accomplish.Welcome all! And if no one shows up, I will use this space as my personal diary until they do. This is here for the long haul.

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