Dear Papa Bear,
I am (was) a Martial Artist that quit the last Dojang (to clear any confusion, that's Korean for Training Hall like Dojo is in Japanese) because the instructor wanted some of THE most ridiculius things from me. He wanted me to Fast and Shave my head for HIS belt test (I wasn't even testing). When I was to test I would be expected to do even crazier-sounding things that most of everybody I talked to (one of those people being an instructor from a different school) said were absolutely ridiculous.
This was just under three years ago. I'm not going back there anytime soon.
The thing is, however, that I miss the Martial Arts training I was getting. I miss the various drills that I would do. I miss being covered head to toe in sweat (I have replaced that to a point with weight lifting as a nearby fitness center). I miss the learning and the discipline. I miss the sparring and the board breaking.
I want to get back in, but money and time (or lack there of) now seem to make it an impossibility. Part of me wonders if maybe I should just practice what I know solo in the back parking lots of my townhouse. I was a black belt in a different school before I went to the place with the crazy requirements. I'm left wondering what is best for me at this moment.
What do you think, Papa Bear?
* * *
Dear Big Leo,
If you have time to practice in the parking lot or weight train in a gym, then you likely have time to get formal training, it seems to me. I find it hard to believe that the Dojang you went to is the only one available. Surely there must be other places where you can formally train? Find one and go there instead.
If there is not one that suits you, then could you perhaps try another discipline in the martial arts? Perhaps you can try a Japanese or Chinese form such as Kung Fu? I always thought Jeet Kune Do was cool. Always loved what Bruce Lee taught: the style of no style. Be flexible in philosophy as well as body. Perhaps trying various forms of martial arts will make you a more well-rounded practitioner of the art of self-defense?
You can also look for other people who enjoy martial arts and form your own group with people of different abilities, making sure to find some who are better than you so you can learn from them.
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