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riduan
8/05/2010 3:34am,
Hello, everybody ! Here is my story, short version, with MA.
I got the bug, hard, around 1984. Born behind the `wall`, in a former Eastern Europe communist country, like most kids of my age I had the first contact through mainland chinese martial art movies. Some of us, wealthy or connected enough, bought cd players and teach themselves from watching Jet Li`s Shaolin movies and many others similar tapes. The rest, me included, only dreamed to train. Then, 6 months after the revolutions, I got my first try in a Wado Ryu class. We trained in the old cemetery, who had a rather large part without tombs. Today will look silly and ill suited, but we were happy. I did, for a year, only kata and kiba dachi until i was no more able to whitstand the pain. No sparring, timing, physical drills and no questions about belts, lineage, masters or training in Japan, but it didn`t matter to us. We were, finally, living the dream.
In 1991 my instructor pass away from a work-related accident and I had to move on to the university. Still, we didn`t now much about the outside world and never looked at MA like a way to train and live by. It was and it is, for me anyway, a private thing, did outside the social/work environment. I followed my other passion - history - and got a degree after 5 years of study.
Learning did not interfered with my practice. In my opinion the years between 1991 - 1997 were the `golden age` of MA in my country. Two or three publishing houses start churning every month fascinating books about Karate, Ju jitsu, Shaolin gong fu, qigong, etc. and we read and practice by themselves, trying to understand what martial arts are. From time to time I tryied to join a club, but the money were scarce after spending for rent, food or clothes.
After reading a lot, i realized that my background was strictly related to modern MA, while many other people get the chance to train in koryu related dojo or okinawan weapons.
Nevertheless, karate is a good way to train by yourself, after proper learning the kata with somebody and i never did entertaining the idea I was a martial artist. I like to practice for physical and mental health, nothing more and experiment new techniques that work for me.
The second part of my training ended up being qigong for the last 15 years. Never felt the `flow of chi`, but i got calmer, kept in leash my, sometimes, volatile temper and pride and started to think before acting. From time to time I get small zen moments, nothing mystical, just realizing what made me do all those good/bad choices in my past and how difficult is to live with yourself before even thinking to conquer oneself.
Today I`m a history teacher, striving to be a historian and train around 2 hours/day, 6 day per week, a mix of physical drills, MA and qigong.
After 20 years i still remember those hard and fun days of training, when everything was simple. Many techniques and ideas got in and out of my brain along this time, but i kept close only two. MA is the best way, for me, to better understand what I am/can be and never go in places where you can find troubles, thanks to Gichin Funakoshi.

patfromlogan
8/05/2010 10:05am,
Congratulations on having martial arts be a positive influence on your life. My first belts were earned in Wado-ryu in JIKC back when they sparred hard; great dojo.

bigstu31s
8/05/2010 10:39am,
Wado Ryu was also my first forray into MA's so welcome

riduan
8/05/2010 10:42am,
Thanks. Sometimes I wish the old me was more interested in lineage or sparring

patfromlogan
8/05/2010 10:57am,
HA! The (I'm sure) much older me is plenty interested in sparring - I just get my ass handed to me by every and anyone who is 30 years younger (except ef word n00bs, but one good strike takes them out).

If you wish it, do it. Good standup schools will give you a slow/soft intro to sparring. I was instructed to go easy when sparring beginners and that is common.