Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Intimidation Factor

Today, I start my first class in formal, somewhat JMA-traditional Kobdudo class.

I'll admit, I'm a little intimidated.  But probably not for the reasons you might expect.

Nope, not the white gi.  Mostly.

I'm all good with weapons, even if Bo isn't my favorite in the world, so the prospect of learning it and even getting a hit here or there with it doesn't overly concern me.

Honestly, it's the etiquette of it all.

My school - heck, my art as I have known it - isn't the world's most formal, and it's not bound by a whole lot of rules regarding proper behavior. We bow in and out.  Kids are required to call adults "Mister" or "Miss" (it's the South, y'all) and their first or last name, whatever the adult prefers.

But really, that's about it.

It seems to me, the FMA's in general  aren't as wrapped up in such things, not like Korean or Japanese (and to a much lesser extent Chinese) martial arts generally are (I have no experience with Indonesian or other arts, that's why I can't compare them). We just don't have a lot of "must line up a certain way, must enter the room a certain way..." tradition.

My teacher is a pretty laid back, humble, and informal guy as well, so you can imagine how utterly informal things are.

But man, this Kobudo class is formal compared to my daily martial arts life.  And that is just plain intimidating for me.

Once, I started at a very traditional JMA school that has so many rules regarding etiquette, I couldn't remember them all.  This is no indictment on that school - the teacher is amazing, the art is solid.  But as class time approached, I became MORE stressed, versus less.

You stepped on the mat in the wrong order!  YOU DIE NOW!

One major reason I do the martial arts is the alleviation of stress, so I only stayed there the one month.

So, yeah, in thinking about going to class today, that's what I'm worried about.

Etiquette.

Do any of you out there struggle with this like I do?  I'd love to know...