In this guest post, Mick Mercer of Shudokan Preston talks about his motivation behind martial arts, as well as why we should practice sport.Advertisement
When asked to write this piece I got to thinking about why we train or even why would we train in an ancient martial art from Japan?
Any sport should be about helping individuals to develop themselves in all sorts of ways, and should be about developing character and a sense of fair play.
I think it was the Duke of Wellington who said something along the lines that “The battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton”, and I am sure he was referring to sport in general and not just that prestigious school!
However, much of the popular sport we see today seems to be more about money and “winning at all cost”. Being an avid sports fan I have found myself somewhat disillusioned with sport in general lately. Don’t get me wrong winning is important and putting in the hard work to build a winning team or individual is what it is all about.
But losing has its place too, after all there are no winners without losers and I am sure every successful team can point to a low point that marked the recovery to winning ways. Building character and good qualities are also important and sadly this is not often to the fore when we watch some of the more popular sports and more famous personalities (David Beckham being a fine exception to this rule showing himself to be a brilliant role model – and he even mentioned PNE at the BBC sports personality event!).
I have been struggling with this little problem for a few weeks now but this week I have had my faith restored. After the Christmas break we have been working hard on getting our Aikido students ready for testing and our focus has been on this event; which was completed last week.
With the tests finished and our classes back to normal I was observing our Little Dragons (4 to 7 year olds) after they had just completed a great training session. Jonathan had just joined us and this had been his first class; after each session we award each student with a tape to put around their belt to denote they have attended a class, behaved properly and worked hard.
Jonathan, being new, was not quite sure what to do and while he was looking a little confused he was approached by Christopher, who has been with us for several months now and is no more than 5 years old. Christopher guided Jonathan to the line, politely invited him to stand in front of him and then started to explain what was happening by showing Jonathan his own belt that was covered with the tapes he had already been awarded.
At this precise moment I realised why I do this and what training in Aikido is all about. It is about developing character, consideration, cooperation and a deep respect for our fellow man. The fact that it took a 5 year old boy to be the one to restore my faith is pretty cool too.
Training takes place every weekday evening at the full time dojo in Preston, classes are available for all ages.
For more details go to www.shudokanpreston.co.uk. If you mention Blog Preston you can get one week of training for free!