Been a very busy few weeks around here. The primary source of that busy-ness was from moving to a new house, a process which takes far longer and is entirely more arduous than it should be, especially with two kids. We're still unpacking, but we're slowly getting settled.
The move (as intended) is a largely positive one. We've gone from a small urban apartment to a reasonably rural house. Everyone has their own room now. There's several hundred acres of conservation land behind our house. Granted, it's apparently infested with ticks, but these are the prices we pay. Morning walks with the dog are frequently romps through the woods now.
It is amazing how much this one change has affected my mindset. I'm unquestionably happier, clearer headed, and more focused. I also find that I'm starting to reconnect with a bunch of things I'd forgotten or put aside. Getting outdoors on a regular basis reminds me how much I missed getting outdoors.
On a martial front, I'm realizing more and more how much I missed being a student. A real student, not a student with 15 years of experience (which is a totally different kind of student). Fortunately, I've managed to finagle things so that I'm starting to get back to some things I've wanted to work on for a long time.
Specifically, the big three things I've wanted to explore for a while are: grappling, bladework, and the Chinese Internal Martial Arts.
I'm now getting one day a week of BJJ (I miss Judo terribly, but BJJ is fun too). And some Bagua (in private, on a somewhat inconsistent basis, but I can practice on my own). The bladework is still missing, but it'll get there.
It's not much, and the practice isn't as often as I'd like, but I'm getting it in. Getting it has started to rekindle a lot of my enthusiasm for the martial arts.
It's also caused me to really rethink how much of a priority fun is in training.
I spent a lot of years really heavily focused on practical application: can this work in the ring? Does it work in the street? I was fine with the idea that "work" is a measure that varies from context to context, but I still was deeply concerned with it. I acknowledged that fun was important, but sometimes it was a distant second to practicality.
Now, I find that I'm a lot less concerned with practicality, and more concerned with whether or not I actually enjoy what I'm doing. Which isn't to say it's all pleasant (my shoulders hate me every Bagua session, though some day, they will thank me), but it is fun. I'm glad to be doing what I'm doing.
I think it's impacted my teaching in a more positive way as well.
I still take this stuff seriously, especially the self-defense, but honestly, sometimes, I think we (martial artists) all take this stuff too seriously. There's a time and place for it, but it's worth having some fun too.