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Lesson of the Month

February 2000

Glen Doyle teaches at
Céad Bua Fighting Arts Centre
in Milton, Ontario

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The Magic and the Mania

By Sifu Glen Doyle

I have tons of e-mails from people who ask me about a certain part in my book when I say, "If you can't take a punch... don't fight." People ask for a more detailed explanation of such an odd quote.

First of all, I have to give credit where credit is due.... that phrase belongs to my Sifu (Lore King Hong). Actually, he proofed The Martial Artist's Way, and suggested that I add that quote to help further the points in that specific chapter.

It all stems from this... no matter how fast you are, how strong, how agile, or how hard you train... EVERYONE GETS HIT.

Now when I respond with the above, they smirk and say, "Well it's a martial art, of course people get hit." True, true... but I've met so many students that DO think that way when they first begin to train, but that train of thought somehow seems to disappear after said student has studied for an 'X' amount of time.

I've seen it dozens of times. A student builds up the sweat, gets going, begins to spar and gets nailed by the opponent -- then the 'LOOK' comes out. In real street situations I see the same thing. A very talented martial artist gets nailed by a 'street fighter'... there's that look again.

It's because of the by-product of that 'look' that I try to stop people from experiencing it... thus my, 'YOU'RE GONNA GET HIT' preaching.

When someone starts a martial art, they see all the senior members executing movements that they deem as magical... something to aspire to. Now, in a few years, those movements that were once looked upon as magical and/or sacred are easily executed by the student, and their sense of immortality begins to develop. Then it happens... someone the martial artist thinks of as 'lower' or 'less experienced' nails them with a technique. Or worse, they come up against a good street fighter and get whooped... the magical world this martial artist has created, implodes.

The result... some go back to basics and train harder. More look upon their chosen style as lacking in efficiency and move onto another, abandoning all those years of practice. But worse... they give up on the martial arts all together. That's the greatest loss of all.

I just like people to stay aware. No matter if they've trained 20 years or 20 days, a fight is a mysterious world of variables and nothing is written in stone. On any given day, one person can defeat another.

But if the 'magic' of the martial arts is to stay alive -- we have to look away from the 'mania'.

Realize that you are just flesh and bone, and in this warring world that we train, flesh sometimes get ripped, and bones sometimes get bruised, and we all get hit one time or another.

Keep it real.


G. Doyle

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