In a few days, I will mark my sixth-month of training in the Filipino Martial Arts (FMA a.k.a. Arnis, Kali, or Eskrima). Since I started, I have practiced with Master Cris once to twice a week, watched three tournaments, read and read, watched dozens of videos, and even started this blog.
My decision to go into it was largely influenced by my desire to get fit and to try something new. However, along the way, I realized numerous other benefits. I found a new passion. I appreciated my heritage more. I made a lot of new friends. And learned some valuable lessons.
Here then are the six life lessons I learned from my first six months in FMA:
1. If you want new friends, find a new hobby. I have gained an entirely new group of friends. People whom I would never have known if I just stayed in my comfortable, predictable world. Hobbies give us a connection with others. They give us a a venue to communicate, build relationships, and enrich each other’s lives.
2. The simplest way is often the most effective. When the strikes are clear, the stances defined, the footwork unadorned, they are more focused and efficient. Each movement becomes purposeful and effective. There is no wasted energy. Such is the same for life, we have to shed the excess. Remove unnecessary activities. Stop inappropriate relationships. Then our days will infinitely be more meaningful and … brilliant.
3. Be careful when choosing a mentor. Because of its complicated history and many other factors, the accreditation and classification systems of FMA are still somewhat arbitrary. There are people who pretend to be experts but actually are not. Their integrity are in question and they just cheat their students. In life, be careful and choose your mentors well. Understand that they will have a profound and long-lasting effect on your knowledge, attitudes, skills, and practices, a big factor to your success.
4. Humility makes a leader more persuasive. There are many FMA instructors but those who choose to be humble and respectful are the ones who stand out. Many are attracted to their quiet self-confidence. Their disinterest in being loud and proud makes their skills and technique shine brighter. When they speak, we listen. When they move, we pay attention.
5. Mastery takes time. Many say that one can learn a lot of FMA moves even in just a few weeks. Well, yes I agree. But for you to be a force to be reckoned with, as with almost everything else in life, you need to practice diligently for many years. Give yourself time to gain experience, sharpen your skills, and earn credibility.
6. The more you put into it, the more you get out of it. Ancient wisdom, still so true today. Enough said.
How about you? What life lessons do you have from your Art?