It’s important to have goals in the martial arts, a plan to build on the momentum in training, so one can achieve. Often these goals are the reasons why we start the martial arts, providing the motivation in the first place.
But we also need to keep in mind and open to these reasons and goals changing over time- they must change over time as we naturally evolve as not only martial artists, but also human beings.
On a personal level I did not start the martial arts to find satisfaction or happiness- and that was OK. My goal for starting training was self-defense.
Over time that continued and evolved to being a part of something special, with not what Soke has shared with us, but the structure of friendship and communication in the martial arts known as the Bujinkan.
Yet as time continued, my goals continued, and while I am still interested in self-defense, along with the metal aspects of the ‘arts, I’m now most interested in finding happiness in the martial arts.
I can’t fault my initial ambitions, but looking back with the wisdom of experience, I now believe that if I focused on my happiness in the martial arts, it would have been building all of my other interests at the same time.
A satisfaction or content in the training.
I still very much want to learn and grow as a martial artists, but now the focus is on just enjoying the lessons being taught in class for what they are, with no other ambitions attached. I still strive for perfection, but I no longer worry if I’m getting better, or any progress of rank.
A satisfaction of just being *able* to train.
To move around and practice the wonderful and mysterious transmissions from Soke. A happiness of even being a part of, of having the opportunity to train in such a rare thing.
A happiness in that when I explore a kata, or work on some training items, feelings are remembered- feelings of the dojo classes and seminars where I learned such a thing. Feelings of training with my martial arts friends over the years, a connection to an organic and living history.
A happiness that whatever is happening in my life right now, especially when things are a bit more misfortune, I always have the lessons of the Bujinkan to explore and practice every day.