Martial arts and childishness


September 5, 2007
Shay Dill

By Shay Dill
There’s always someone telling me I’m being childish. Of course, it starts with my mother who usually says, especially after an injury: “What where you thinking? When will you stop with this Ninjutsu stuff? When will you act your age?”
And it goes on with my wife who thinks that my version – “only those people who participate in some discipline or have a hobby are interesting” is a bit of a childish exaggeration.

Maybe one of the main characteristics of children is that they see things in either black or white. When you grow up you understand there are some grays. I stayed with my black and whites, somebody is either good or bad, I love something or hate it. Of course there are embers of grey. Grey is mostly an uninteresting color.

Some weeks ago I had a conversation with a remarkable lady. I told her that sometimes, when I look at people who do not practice, their lives look very boring. On the other side, when I look at people who train or have some discipline, their lives look more passionate, more involved.

There are many anecdotal contradictories – I met a guy who runs diligently and he’s a bore, or a girl riding a bicycle for triathlon that was even more dreary.

To go back to the interesting woman, she commented on my childish observations and said that her goal in life is to do whatever she does the best, perfection. I can honestly declare that I do not share this goal. I know that in order to do something perfectly you have to invest much more than if you aim for doing it 90% good. I’m sure that this post contains some mistakes but it doesn’t bother me enough. Maybe it’s because I never have spare time. My attitude is that once I get to the core goal, perfection is not that important.

The woman I was talking with, the one whose aim is “doing whatever she does perfectly” is the best mother I know. Alas, she does not understand a thing in martial arts. Does this mean she has uninteresting life just because I don’t see her at the dojo twice a week? Probably not; I stand corrected.

To get back to where I started, am I childish? Being childish is fun!! Life is simpler, colors are clearer and you sure have good time. In every instance someone tries to pin me back to the ground (not a training mattress but the grownup ground) I desist (unless it’s my wife. In that case I tell her she’s right, I’m sorry, I’ll try to be more mature – there’s no end to what a person has to do for a peaceful home).

Probably there is no clear-cut conclusion here. I gather now that other people have interesting life even though they do not train in martial arts, but when I immaturely compare, I see: we people have a common interest, a forward moving skill and we really do have fun. Maybe this is because martial arts in our school and in similar places attract people that essentially posses young spirit. Hey, just look around and see, so many people smiling. This is not the way adults look!!!