I've been training in the martial arts since I was a little kid. When I say that, an image of a whiny little fat kid (those were the days) in a karate gi may pop out at you, but that's just not me. When I say I've been training in the martial arts since I was a kid, I more likely mean, "I got into a lot of fights." (And that is most assuredly what I mean.) Sure, my Dad taught me some basic skills that he had learned from Tae Kwon Do and Judo, but really, my style consisted of me going berserk. I'm not one of those "tough talkers" who say, "I black out when I fight and when I come to, everybody's hurt." (I really can't stand those guys.) I just plain out went nuts, throwing wild punches and kicks at anyone I thought had wronged me. I didn't always win. I won a lot, but I didn't always win. Little kids aren't always prepared for one of their classmates needing psychological help, so it gave me the element of surprise, I guess. I didn't have the luxury of formal training when I was little, because we didn't have a lot of money. It's only in the past few years that I've been introduced to Senseis, Masters, and Coaches (I'm only 21). There was a lot of ways I could've taken this post, but I think I want to say this right now:
I often feel discouraged in wanting to compete at a professional level (someday soon, please!) with martial artists who've trained since age 3 and 4 to punch, kick, knee, takedown, and submit (well, it's only now that the kids are doing all of these things this early). I'm just learning the technical aspect of groundwork and the differences in fighting varied styles (I've fought Tae Kwon Do guys, American Freestyle Karate guys (under a Kempo banner), Kempoists, and a couple other styles). I get frustrated, discouraged, and sometimes depressed about it, but, I'm here to tell you, I really don't care. I may not be the most technical fighter, but I'm learning. I may not be a crazy little kid anymore (Thank you, Jesus!), but I love to fight. So, I don't care if you've been wrestling since you were "this high" (makes knee-high motion) or kickboxing forever or are the heir to a martial tradition reaching back into the Cretaceous-- I'll fight you. Because that's what it means to be a martial artist (at least to me). Challenges are nothing more than an excuse to better myself.
I hope I didn't bore you. I'll be putting out some more anime training in a day or so.