Throughout Shihan’s forty years of teaching martial arts, one request he’s heard quite often is “You should put showers in the dojo!”. He says he won’t do it, because “Then people would never leave!” He’s seen his fair share of obsessed students over the years, and he likes to remind us “Life isn’t what happens in here, it’s what happens out there.”
It’s important to have balance. Shihan’s told me about students in the past who let their training interfere with their relationships outside of the dojo, and their quality of life suffered because of it. Whether it was because of significant others who resented the amount of time spent away from them, or friends who simply drifted to the wayside. Even job performance or schoolwork can be negatively affected by focusing too much on training.
Shihan also believes we should be well-rounded, and have passions and interests beyond the martial arts. He encourages learning in all forms, because anything you do to try to improve yourself is beneficial. Training the mind, body, and spirit doesn’t always have to take place at the dojo, nor does it always have to be related to martial arts. Even if everyone in your immediate family trains (like mine does), your life shouldn’t constantly revolve around it. It’s important to connect with other aspects of being, to fully experience the game of life. If you never really leave the dojo, you could be missing out. Training martial arts is not my life, it’s just a part of it.