The Old Ways of New Masters

Once upon a time, before taking up teaching karate and starting a family, I began a book proposal about martial arts and their effects on the lives of Americans.  The working title was The Old Ways of New Masters, and I decided to focus on people from the generation born in the 70’s and 80’s, as we’re pretty much the first to have continued training from childhood through adulthood.

Even though the book project is on hold, I’d like to explore the ways in which martial arts are more than just an after-school activity for kids or an arena of competition for adults.  I think the benefits of studying martial arts as a child through adulthood are being overlooked by society.  People only see training as a means to an end–i.e. to keep kids busy after school or to prepare to beat the hell out of fighters in the UFC.  I don’t know too many Americans that have taken my path–who have become lifelong martial artists–and I would like to seek them out, interview them, and include their insights into a thesis.  I’d like to explore the pursuit of martial arts as a lifestyle and not as a sport or temporary activity.  I’m also curious about how cultural traditions and values are translated and propagated by Americans who have had limited exposure to the origins of each style.

A few summers ago, I began seeking out individuals and schools that focus on teaching the “lifestyle” and how they adapt traditions and techniques to meet their needs.  I obtained a few interesting interviews that I’d still like to share with you.  If enough interest is generated from this blog, perhaps I’ll bring the book project back from dormancy.

Look for the first interview in the series with Matthew Apsokardu from next week!

About moaimartialarts

Lucky enough to grow up with the martial arts, I have felt their positive influence throughout my life and am especially interested in sharing these experiences with others. I enjoy working with youth and adults to give back some of what I've received. If you would like to learn more about Uechi-Ryu/Shohei-Ryu Karate, or if you want to find people to train with, please contact me. I am the head karate instructor for the Meriden Martial Arts Club.
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2 Responses to The Old Ways of New Masters

  1. Nick says:

    Hello I am 24 and would like to begin studying martial arts to help me focus my mind and body but it does seem like a lot of martial arts trainers around me focus souly on the fighting portion of it while I would like to be able to better control my energy and body and mind to better perform in everyday activities. I was wondering my best course of action.

    • Hi, Nick. Your location will dictate your option more than anything, but try to find a more traditional style like karate, kung fu, or aikido taught by a master instructor. A school that focuses on technique and personal development over sparring and sport will be more of what you’re looking for. An MMA gym may mot meet your needs, nor will a “McDojo” that just wants to upsell you a program to fast-track to black belt. Good luck, and let me know if you have questions. Feel free to e-mail me if you want.

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