Two days ago I posted, "Which martial art to study?" - a reader asked me which I'd recommend. I shared my experience, but also reached out to the crowd here since I know we've got some martial artists who stop by.
Some fantastic replies.
I would tend to agree with Sebastian, it depends more on the teacher and your connection with him or her than the actual art, though some arts will be easier than others to master (depending on your body type).
There are only a few things I would add. First, Systema is not only an amazing fighting art, but actually can teach you how to be calmer. There are no forms or formal meditation or exercises, but the way it is taught and its focus on introspection achieves a lot of the same things. I have many years of kung fu and meditation experience and can tell you that it can give you amazing access to these spaces in a very short amount of time.
On Chaotically Ordering
All my life I have been terrible at following through. I'm great at saying things and then doing the complete opposite; I'd agree to go to a party and then bail last minute (often knowing full well that was my plan all along); I'd go to the gym twice and not go back for 3 years; I'd start non-fiction books and abandon them three pages in; the list goes on. I stuck to things only when there was something making me, like a friend, or an angry professor, or the threat of losing my job if I didn't turn up. I never really saw this as a problem. Until now.
I realise that committing yourself to a course of action and then following up on that isn't just a good thing to do; it's the only thing to do. All my flakiness, last minute decisions, and lack of a firm answer didn't just paint me as unreliable to other people, but they made me think I was unreliable. I had no trust in myself to follow through on tasks, so I stopped starting them. I stopped trying to do things that were difficult because I knew I'd procrastinate them away until it was far too late. To not be able to trust yourself is not a place you want to be in, because there is no chance you will do anything. Ever.
This has changed recently. I've managed to stick to my no-sugar, no-carb, no-dairy, no-anything-that-will-shorten-my-life-span diet; I'm keeping up with my French practice; I'm going to keep blogging here Mondays and Thursdays, regardless of readership; I'm in the process of "Paring Down" (that's for another post); I make sure that I answer yes or no to plans made with friends, and stick to what I answered. Ultimately, I'm setting myself tasks and I'm seeing them through to the bitter end.
This might seem like rehabilitation, and that's because it is. I was (am by nature, I suppose) lazy, flaky, and generally looking for the easy way out. I've been reading about how this is a hard-wired phenomenon in our brain to take the easy route, do the immediately fun thing and not the long term fun, worthwhile thing, but I don't know how much of that I believe yet. For me, right now, it's just a case of sticking with what I'm doing to the point at which it's completed, or until something physically stops me doing it. As I build my trust in myself, I can start to set myself bigger tasks and more meaningful goals.
It's going to be an interesting few months (years).