Let me set the tone.
“People fear what they don't understand and hate what they can't conquer.”
― Andrew Smith
I’ll keep this short and sweet. Let me explain how this quote relates to the martial arts, specifically training and practice of the martial arts. Martial arts have a wide variety of options of study whether it be grappling, striking, weapons, etc.
Becoming familiar or even fluent in all aspects of your selected art takes time, correct practice, and passion for the art. Those that study American Ninjutsu know the art offers a huge range of areas to study. Over time practitioners will come to find their favorite areas of training and their least favorite aspect. This can lead to over training in the practitioner’s favorite aspects of the art and neglect in what they consider trivial or unrealistically available in the modern world.
What it truly means to be a black belt in American Ninjutsu or any martial art for that matter is a firm grasp of all basics and an ability to properly articulate and teach those said basics to others. Even more so it should be understood that for further advancement in black belt ranks, all aspects of training should be close to some level of mastery and no portion of the art should be neglected. When a student approaches me and says “I hate this weapon” or “I’m not good at the sword forms” That’s the perfect time to make sure that the student truly understands the aspect of training in question and/or I as a teacher have fully related and explained thoroughly all the aspects of the area of study.
When I was coming up through the ranks I truly hated “the strap.” It wasn’t until I had been a black belt for some time and had put some training into the weapon and received training from numerous instructors that I realized that my ignorance and arrogance had truly shorted me from fully appreciating it. It’s hard to watch people neglect to teach something in our art or any art for that matter, or not pass on something to future generations because it’s a training aspect they fear wasting time on because they truly don’t understand.
Article written by Kyle Stockton. Kyle is a 3rd Degree Senior Status Instructor in American Ninjutsu. Kyle has trained and taught in various martial arts over his career. He currently teaches and is the Program Director at the Arlington school.