Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Net Positives

Karate as well as other activities in general should have an overall positive impact on your life. By this I mean that an activity should have more upsides than downsides and preferably should be all upside and no downside. This can be tricky in today's world, which seems to promote consumption and specialists as a cure for all of our problems. There is hardly a problem out there that someone isn't eager to sell you a solution to whether it is needed or not.

Part of the reason I practice karate by studying only a single kata is because it makes martial arts a net positive in my life where it otherwise would run contrary to my other life goals, which is not acceptable. If I were to practice martial arts in the conventional sense, I could spend a couple thousand dollars at a minimum each year for fees, testing, uniforms, equipment and travel. I'd spend a few hours away from my family each week, and I would still have to spend time outside of the dojo training on my own. I would also most likely need to supplement this with my own fitness regimen. If I wanted to practice karate with my wife, she would also have these same expenses.

As it stands now, I spend no money that I don't want to spend on karate. I practice for free and can guide my study however I please. Karate and fitness are combined, and it's a fun activity for my family to do together. The money we save from not going to a gym or dojo can be put toward retirement goals and investments. As well as a fun physical activity, studying the single kata and the broader subject of violence on my own exercises my mind and creativity. Rank, recognition and "legitimacy" are small prices to pay especially when they mean so little to begin with.

One may say that learning the self defense aspects of martial arts from a competent instructor is an investment in my future safety. This may be true, but it may not be true as well. I've learned enough about violence, crime and self defense to know that no matter how good your training and no matter how good the system success is not certain. Common sense and the will to survive will serve a person better than the best training from the best martial arts master in the world. Money in the bank will serve me better to handle life's complications better than spending it preparing for something that may never happen.

My karate exercises my body and brain, it doesn't shrink my bank account, I spend more time with my family, and it doesn't impede my other goals. This is all upside, a net positive.