Between a variety of projects for work, a move into a new home, and I don't even know what else, time to write here has been at a bit of a premium. It now happens that it's Thanksgiving evening, the rest of the family is sacked out, and I'm enjoying a bit of Redbreast and finally getting some thoughts to paper.
Earlier in the week, I made a post on Facebook about the Rousey/Holm fight. Long story short: I spent years telling my students that footwork was important, and frankly, most of them didn't listen. I get why...footwork is boring and unsexy, but still, they didn't listen. Another instructor commented that it took him a long time to appreciate the importance of footwork.
I got very lucky. Early in my martial arts career, I studied Aikido and fenced in the SCA. There's a long list of reasons why I'm grateful for the second experience, but martially, I had an instructor who constantly preached the importance of footwork. Aikido reinforced that emphasis, and that was something I carried with me into every other martial art I've ever studied. Footwork is important, and I'm really grateful that I learned that early on.
I'm grateful that the time I spent diligently training under a man who was a fraud and liar still left me with some valuable skills and knowledge.
I'm grateful for the time I spent in Uechi-Ryu, which gave me some excellent friends, and ultimately, helped to broaden my martial arts horizons more than anything else I did. Oddly, despite no longer doing Uechi, I don't know if I'd be where I am if I hadn't done it. (It's a pretty neat system in it's own right, for the record)
I'm grateful that I found Tony Blauer and his SPEAR System, because his coaching almost single-handedly reshaped my understanding of the martial arts and self-defense. It's been almost 16 years, and I'm still studying the system and learning new things through it. It's had a profound impact on my life.
I'm grateful for Sityodtong--I don't even have words. Through SYT, I've met some amazing people. Again, a life changing place.
And for Integrated Martial Arts, where I'm taking another step along the journey. Again, awesome people, awesome training. Finally getting some BJJ practice again.
Grateful that I finally connected with a Bagua instructor.
Grateful that I met Mike Perry, and was able to be guided by him through the beginnings of my strength training journey. I need to see him again. Soon.
And, finally, I'm grateful for all of my students. Because really, without them, I'd be half the practitioner that I am. My students give me purpose.
Funny thing: as I look back at this list, the things I'm really the most grateful for are the connections. The people I've met, the experiences I've had. The skills are nice, but really, it's the people who made the difference. I'm grateful for all of them.