Finding the Time for BudoBy Muromoto, Wayne
This article first appeared in the "SMAA Journal" Volume 23, Issue 1.
Want to practice martial arts?
Don’t know how to balance it with your other responsibilities?
Surveys show that we Americans, at least, are working more hours and getting paid overall less (figuring in inflation) than a decade or two ago, and stereotypes notwithstanding, we work more productive hours than almost any other country, including the vaunted Japanese worker. All that work and then having to deal with daily family life will, indeed, put a crimp on training time.
Finding the time to train is a problem many martial artists have felt and will continue to feel. Even the samurai had to become bureaucrats, administrators, teachers and lawmakers, and they too struggled with balancing work, family and budo training.
Prioritize your time
Here’s my own opinion: if you can’t commit a reasonable amount of time to your training, then perhaps your life is full as it can be already, and you may have to forego it, at least for the time being. The two koryu master teachers, who I admired as my main teachers in Japan, both said the same thing: there is a hierarchy of values, and never let your love of martial arts eclipse the other responsibilities you have, or in the end you will be left with nothing. You have to put in adequate time for family, first, because without the support of your family, your life is meaningless. Whether family is just a spouse or significant partner, or ten kids, a wife and three ex-spouses who receive alimony, you have to shoulder the responsibility you took on, and spend the time and effort with family, and extended family, to make sure the family endures, and you as an individual in that family contributes your fair share. That is what being an adult is about. You no longer take everything. Now you have to give.
Second, of course, is your job. Without a stable job and income, you really will have a hard time paying to train. You need to pay dues, room rent, buy new training gear when the old ones wear out, be able to pay for travel expenses to attend seminars and workshops, and pay for medical bills if you fall the wrong way or get hit in the head by a wayward stick. So you have to do your best at your job and secure a decent wage for a decent days’ work.
Finally, if all the above is working relatively well, you can enjoy budo as a pastime. With a supportive family and good job, doing budo is a plus, a way to keep yourself mentally and physically healthy, a way to engage in an activity that you enjoy with others who enjoy it with you, a way to develop bonds and friendships outside of family and work. Having the mental and physical health that comes out of good budo training will add to your abilities at work and in your family and social life, but all these parts have to work together. You should never use budo training as an escape to avoid dealing with your responsibilities in the other two spheres of your life.
Join an international martial arts association
Are you having trouble integrating your love for budo into your schedule?
Join a community of international martial artists who feel the same as you. SMAA offers separate divisions for karate, aikido, judo, traditional jujutsu, and iaido. As an associate member, you’ll receive a quarterly journal full of martial arts news and articles that may satisfy your budo desires.
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This article was created from Wayne Muromoto’s article, “Finding the Time for Budo,” Volume 23, Issue 1.