To the blog insiders as well as the avid readers who are in the know, I apologize for this post being later than it should have been.  This has been a whirlwind week, to say the least, and in returning to the paradigm of the swimming metaphor, it was challenge enough to simply tread water in the invigorated currents of this week. Not to say that this week was unpleasant by any means; on the contrary it was very enjoyable.  One of the enjoyable things about this week has been gaining insight into how to be more productive by staying fresh.

Taking a Break

I’ve continued my training this week as well as advancing in the various other areas of my life.  Something that I did this week, which I rarely do, is that I watched a few movies.  Because I’m usually so desiring to be productive, I rarely see fit to watch television or movies at all unless it is an educational document pertaining to one of my immediate endeavors.  Well this week, in amongst my part-time job, my training, social obligations, and work around the house, I allowed myself to watch a few just for fun movies.  I found that the break the movies provided left me feeling very refreshed and more ready to dive into my and endeavors.

This seems like such a simple and basic observation, but I was very much struck by it.  By actually scheduling some just-for-fun time, I actually accomplished more than by scheduling only “working periods.” I was able to get more out of my producing periods by taking a little time off.  Obviously balance is key.  I could take a ton of breaks and be pretty refreshed, but then I might not be getting much done due to the amount of time going into breaks.  A little movie time never hurt anyone tough.

Remembering the Romance

Okay, I know what some of you are thinking.  You thought you were reading a martial arts post and suddenly it turned into a post about relationships.  Well let me reassure you that we are still discussing martial arts and how to stay fresh in the pursuit of it or any other endeavor that takes dedication.

So what does romance have to do with any of this.  I turn to Walt Whitman, in particular his poem “Song of Myself,” for how I conceive the term “romance.”  Romance is much more than a warm fuzzy feeling between lovers; it’s that feeling you get when you’re running as fast as you can over lush grassy hills on a cool summer morning, that feeling you have when you and your friends are singing your favorite songs at the top of your lungs; romance is that incommunicable feeling of intensely experiencing the joy of the moment and what one is involved in.  It is easy to see how it is easiest to see it in terms of lovers enjoying each other’s company, but it is also a key motivator to intense accomplishment.

For those of us who have been in the martial arts for a long time, we’re not staying in it because it’s a good way to stay in shape or because it’s a cool way to meet new people.  We’re in this because something about martial arts deeply connects with who we fundamentally are.  Martial arts isn’t just some thing we do as a hobby – martial arts is the incredible thing that we do that defines us and our lives; we have a romantic connection with it.

For me, I find a romantic connection with martial arts in literature in the sorts of people who master martial artists are.  Whether it’s the philosophy of Miyomoto Musashi in Book of Five Rings, the heroes and heroines in James Clavell’s Shogun, or the characters in movies like Hero, I deeply connect with the ideals of martial arts in these literatures, and these are some of the sources of my romantic inspirations for the martial arts.

What ever your drive in life is, you won’t get very far without a strong emotional connection to it.  In all the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life and trying to get things done, one can from time to time lose sight of the fun of the pursuit or why one started in the first place.  It is important to keep these things in mind and maintain our romantic connection to our endeavors.

Ending Thoughts

Really, the main point in all of this is not to get caught in all the little things that can sometimes grab up all of our attention.  One must not get to the point of being unable to see the forest because of all the trees.  One should keep an eye on the bigger picture and stay true to one’s emotional involvement in the process.  Much more can be accomplished in this way.

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