The soul can never be cut to pieces by any weapon, nor burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind. Bhagavad Gita 2:23
…or glorified by a plaque and picture. Rickbo.
I am in no martial arts hall of fame, or currently member of any association. There are so many martial arts organizations these days!
I’ve been a member of a couple. Not too many, since monetary fees are involved, and I can think of other things to do with those monies. But I’m not big on being part of martial arts organizations. They don’t really serve my needs in an extended manner. Often, they really don’t contribute much to your martial arts skills and knowledge.
If you look you’ll see on some martial artists’ bios that they are members of many organizations, and in many halls of fame. They are in photos with many great martial arts celebrities. Those are supposed to validate the martial artist; “He is so great he is in a picture with someone else who is great!” It becomes a kind of competition; “How many awards do you have? How many celebrities are you in a pic with?”
I am suspect of that kind of validation. Actually, I find it superficial. You see, I grew up believing that the greatness created by martial arts training was mostly invisible. It was beyond physical skills, and certainly beyond photo ops, even beyond the validation of a plaque.
I too have some photos with martial artists, some I’ve trained with extensively, and some just a few times. I’ve trained with more people than I have photos with. Why? Because we spent our time training. But, I would invite my friends, teachers, students, and any others, not to use the photos or certificates, or even belts, as an accreditation of my soul or my character. For that you have to experience my presence. Everything else is easily deceiving.
In Zen, the Satori; the transcendent experience of the sublime, in a manner, your mastery, is said to occur as a transmission beyond the scriptures. That means that the experience did not come by passing a standardized test and getting a certificate or diploma, and it is not validated by a declaration, paper, or external symbol. Many masters are mostly unknown and not easily recognizable.
Let’s be honest, you pay your way into most Martial Arts Hall Of Fame things. When you join an organization you get an “In Good Standing” diploma, and I’ve seen where people have paid to attend a seminar, not participated, and went and got a photo with the master.
Wherever I live, I try to establish a relationship, a simple relationship, with a martial arts instructor, club, or school where I can learn, train, or teach. I’ve been fortunate in always finding one.
I have joined organizations, but ones where I could actually benefit because of regular training opportunities. When that has exhausted, I moved on. I have high regard for many of my seniors, the instructors I’ve trained with, but don’t ask me for puppy dog like worship, which I’ve seen become one of the requisites of these organizations. Like President Obama said in a speech today “it’s not gonna happen.”
I’m happy being an active martial artist without personal celebrity, and without the validation of multiple organizations. I don’t even have many facebook connections, and I like that.
I understand the marketing value of the fame, but my martial arts practice is a personal thing, not a corporate one, and, like I express in my addendum to the epigraph, celebrity and external validation do nothing for the soul.
- The Greatest Leader in the World is Probably Obscure (benchmarkemail.com)