Have you ever taken a good look at the different people you know? Have you ever noticed that some people are always talking about others, complaining about how or why they do this or that and how they would do it this way or that way? When someone makes a mistake, they are right there to criticize and laugh. It is these people that cause many of us to fear trying anything new. We worry what others will think. Some of you are afraid to practice outside because you think others will laugh or say something that hurts your feelings. How do they do that anyway? Because you let them! If nothing they say or do has any effect on you they would quickly become bored and move on. But most of you have never experienced that. Have you? Remember, it is them who know nothing about what or why you are practicing and it is their ignorance that leads them to foolish comments, noises, etc.
Then there is the “Tongue Fu” crowd. These people go around thinking they know something about martial arts and that their opinion means something. I don’t care if they have 40 years experience in something, if all they can do is criticize others then they have learned very little.
The Internet has really brought out the best in these “Tongue Fu” masters. They spend countless hours debating about what this style can do and what that style can’t do. Many claim to be studying with “great teachers.” Or they spend years searching for that perfect teacher, never knowing what to really even look for because they know only in their minds. They may even sign up for something now and then but never last very long or go very deep. They will accumulate useless knowledge from books, movies, or short term membership in many styles and systems, just touching on the basics. They never really learn where it can go.
Real kung fu simply takes time and effort. Most people have so little time as it is. How then can they answer emails and debate for hours? Or watch hours of T.V.? This is valuable practice time that is being wasted if you really want to become proficient and understand the answers to your many questions through experience.
Then there are those that “try.” They say, “I’ll try to practice more.” Or, “I’ll try my best.” And, “Let me try it out.”
Well, let me say this: there is no trying, only doing. If you always take this lackadaisical attitude you will accomplish nothing. Resolve to commit to yourself and it will all come together. If you say you’re going to practice, don’t let yourself off the hook until you do. Otherwise, you will never actually believe in yourself because subconsciously you know there is no sincerity in your efforts. You’ll learn that it is OK not to practice, not to eat right, to smoke, drink or whatever it is that you do that is destructive.
Some talk, some do.
Do you make empty promises to yourself as well as others? When you go out to practice for an hour, how much of that time is wasted thinking about what to do? Or, if you’re with a partner, how much time is wasted talking?
Those who do, just do. They don’t like to waste time. They don’t ask a million questions trying to get everything intellectually. They learn by doing. They understand by doing. That’s it. They don’t care much about what others are doing and they don’t care to debate about who, what, or where is better.
I believe I have been very lucky to find such a deep system to train in. I don’t care what others think about it. I don’t care to compare or explain to others in other styles. I like what I do and I believe in it. I’ve experienced enough with this system to know, not imagine. Others can do as they wish. It doesn’t matter if you train in jujitsu, tae kwon do, tai chi, hung gar, boxing or whatever. If you like what you do then stick with it and be the best you can be. Stop thinking, talking or complaining about things and just do it. Stay focused. Before you know it, all those that were criticizing will have disappeared and gotten old with nothing to show for it.
Something to think about:
Those who try never finish,
And those who do never quit.
Originally published October, 2000