For the majority of my karate training, I basically lived in a bubble. I didn’t care to compete. I didn’t know about many tournaments that were happening. The ones I knew about, I didn’t really care to attend.
This changed two years ago when I started training in Chinese martial arts. I started to realize there are things I don’t know that I don’t know. Lots of them.
So I became a sponge. I started attending more tournaments and seminars to meet people to learn some of the things I should be thinking about and doing. For example, at yesterday’s tournament put on by Ms. Vera Harrison, I wound up having two extensive discussions with a Shuri-ryu stylist who was gave me some pointers on what I should be doing to advance.
Another example was Friday night’s pre-tournament seminar. Six martial artists demonstrated some very basic but very effective techniques – everything from pressure point and joint lock work to potential rape scenarios. Each instructor brought a new perspective to the table, ideas that I’ll be thinking about as I move forward in my own training. I even learned from my partners – one of them turned out to be one of the demonstrating instructors, and the other was a girl who wasn’t going to take crap from anybody.
Learning what I don’t know I don’t know is especially important for me at this stage. I have a solid library of techniques and experiences thanks to all of my instructors that I’ll continue to build on, but it’s critical that I seek out more information from others from time to time.
I would suggest to any martial artist that you get out of their comfort zone and take a class somewhere else. Find out what you don’t know that you don’t know so that you know your strengths and weaknesses. Maybe you know striking but not so much grappling, so you go find a grappling class.
No matter what you know, there’s always so much more you don’t.