Well, my last article certainly got people talking but not in the way I intended. Many praised the article (which you can read by clicking here) and many respectfully disagreed with it, and that's fine. Yet still, others used it as an excuse to attack me on a personal level. In an inescapable amount of irony, how dare I offer my opinion to those who have been training 30, 40 or 50 years, many in the homeland of the arts we all love and teach? After all, my entire article was based upon knowing where you sit at the table and clearly, I got the seating arrangement confused.
Before I continue, I must say that I truly do have the utmost respect for anyone who has dedicated such a significant portion of their lives to anything, but especially such an honorable endeavor as the study of martial arts. Regardless of one's personal progression, the sheer amount of time that one has put in at that stage shows a level of discipline I can only hope I will attain. That said, time alone is not a measure of knowledge or progression. Time measured by the calendar is very misleading. As an example, let's take two practitioners who each study for a year. One casually attends class twice a week for 45 minutes as a hobby, while the other is a "dojo rat" who comes early and stays late at the school five nights a week, and takes private lessons from their instructor on the weekend. Both technically only have a year of martial arts experience, but I think it's clear who will progress farther. Therefore, I adamantly stress that it is the quality of one's time spent over the years rather than the number of years themselves that will determine one's level of understanding, knowledge and proficiency.
Now that we've settled that, let's get into why I feel this article is necessary. Keep in mind that everything I say is my own opinion, based upon my personal experiences and instruction from my various teachers. If you have had different experiences, please share them in the comments. I would love to hear from you and am always open to new information.