Wednesday, January 15, 2014

How do I be a beginner and gain value from studying different martial arts?

Anthony Taylor
Tasmania, Australia
Dear Peter Ralston,
Thank you for your work, your writings periodically keep me honest. I am training with Dave Higgins in Hobart, mostly enjoying the mind/body-space of playing the games and making some primitive beginnings on a slack rope. I am training in Aikido with teachers of various quality at the Uni club and doing some supplementary training with a Ninjitsu instructor simply because he is the best mover I've ever seen.
I reason that most people seem to come to Cheng Hsin with a lot of Martial arts under their belt and already have as it were, techniques to transcend. It seems true of yourself and Ueshiba that technique, instruction and discipline provided a valuable basis to find truth. It seems wise to begin in forming technique with Cheng Hsin principles and practices as soon as possible.
These different influences have kept me a little extended without causing confusion probably because they all inform each other so thoroughly, I would, however, appreciate some guidance on how best to be a beginner. Is it as simple as Goenka says, that to make a well you need to commit and dig one deep hole? Can I study a few traditions with serious and playful curiosity and come away with more than just a good time?
Good luck with the month-long.
Anthony Taylor

It is hard to say, both have value. In the beginning, however, it is probably best to look around for a while. Studying a few things can balance the dogma of any one. On the other hand, you need to delve past the hard parts to get an appreciation of any art. Some arts, or teachers, aren't worth the time; some are. After much study, then choose one or two arts and dig your deep hole.

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