Once in college I sat with three of my training partners talking about trust, specifically trusting your life with. I remember without missing a beat saying I am sitting with three of them. This landed heavy for my friends and prompted much discussion. We had met in university martial arts club and over the previous two years we trained together two or three days a week and were frequently social together. They had become my closest friends and I looked so forward to class and time together. We all had different background and varied skill sets but all had experience in martial arts before meeting. We practiced things together that I would not have dreamed of without them and many of the skills gained at this time continue to impact my practice today.
There is a saying out in the martial arts world that: Those that kick together stick together. It has merit. Our training is helped by having a diverse group of training partners. As Mrs Young and I were coming up through the ranks there were groups that were practicing at similar levels so the knowledge base was magnified and there were many different body types and attitudes to try different techniques. Somethings work well for some or against some but not with others. Invite someone to attend with you, someone to practice with, and create a cohort group to grow through the ranks together. Of course not all people who try karate classes will find it for them. It is disappointing as we see our training partners drop the practice but this is a reality of most any activity. Over the years many of my cohort have dropped the practice. I have been longing for the days when we would practice into the night together, and go to Gasshuku and train all day with the group, then go back to our “quarters” to review together, discuss what we had done and apply it to our practice. Our knowledge base would grow so much because of what each of us would take away. Most of all the excitement would magnify because there were people to share it with.
Over the years It has been asked why I continue to do this. Mrs Young and I could train together and most likely gain skills. I do this and offer it publicly because someone did it for me. These experiences had a huge impact on my life, and while I long for the cohort of my youth, it is my sincere hope to provide that opportunity for a new generation to find.