“You should not have any special fondness for a particular weapon, or anything else, for that matter. Too much is the same as not enough. Without imitating anyone else, you should have as much weaponry as suits you.”
― Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings
I recently did a very enjoyable podcast with the crew at Practically Tactical (link)
My dear friend Jeff Bloovman asked me near the very beginning a question, he asked what I felt the hardest part for new people is entering this thing we do. Simply put I think its overcoming their expectations. Maybe it’s the video montage, or the heroic tale that does it. Or maybe it’s just the human inclination to incorrectly assess the complexity of tasks we are not familiar while also feeling we understand better things that we do not know at all. I can’t say I think its intentional, but it is consistent.
People think it’s going to be easy. Or not even easy, but not that hard. Sure, sure, we know we’ll have to work hard but as we first enter can we really understand what that means? Can you quantify it? How many hours, how many years, just to get mediocre? It’s daunting really.
So there it is, that expectation, maybe not for you dear reader but for quite a few people and perhaps your friends or loved ones as well. This notion that the 2 hour seminar on something your completely unfamiliar with will give you a useful skill, rather than in introduction to that skill. This underestimation of the difficulty of the task at hand needs to be addressed early on.
We need to start framing martial skill in the same way that we frame professional skill in say doctors and lawyers. The subject matter is complex, it must be performed flawlessly under pressure to succeed, it will take years of full time hard work to master. And while the layman should defer to the opinion of professionals he should also understand there are con men dressed as doctors and lawyers with fake degrees around every corner. We must guide students to edge deference with skepticism. We must communicate with honesty and clarity that the path is steep and every small step is hard won and more difficult than the last.