The Early Days in the Martial Arts

 When I first started training in the martial arts over 34 years ago there was no Internet, no YouTube or even DVDs. The only source of information was one martial arts magazine in the newsagency which came out every 2 months. To most of us martial arts was a hobby but it was also a passion and an obsession. It was not long before the ‘Bruce Lee’ era there were only 2 words that were synonymous with martial arts – Judo and Karate. Judo was thought as something to do with chopping wood with your hand, many thanks to the cartoons around that time. Look at what’s around now – Tae Kwon Do, Kickboxing, Kung Fu, BJJ etc. After each grading I couldn’t wait to visit the chemist and buy dye to change the colour of my belt. These were the days before calculators and long before YouTube. We had little available to us ie no information and no gear so we had to be innovative. I remember buying an army duffel bag from the Disposal store and then taking it to the beach and filling it up with sand. I didn’t realize how, heavy and hard, sand was. We didn’t have information available as we do today so we had to get out there and learn the hard way. There was a price to be paid which meant broken noses, cuts and bruises, to say the least. Those few who made it to Black Belt were tough. However, times have changed; today a Black Belt should have a 'tough' mind as opposed to a tough body. They should strive to better themselves in many ways and that is what Instructors are looking for from their students. I prefer to have a student who may not be so physically talented but has the right attitude to succeed as opposed to that of a talented student with a weak mind (they do not last long). The real benefits of martial arts training usually come at a later time and many of these will vary from student to student. Whatever, the reason for training in the martial arts, a student will eventually reap the rewards. Remember, a BLACK BELT IS A WHITE BELT WHO NEVER GAVE UP.