It is time to wind back, more than ten years back to be exact.
The story I want to share is about choosing a sport to practice at young age. Growing up in the Netherlands, the sport most youth by far play is football/soccer.
Football, a game that seemed fun for an afternoon but did not catch my further interest. Why?
Finding reasons as a child
Why didn’t it? This was a question that stayed on my mind for a while
Was it because so many played it? No, that meant I could play it with many; good Was it because others started earlier and were already way better? No, it was not a game I wanted to be the new legend for, casual was fine. Was it because of the rules? It did not seem so, other sports had rules too. Was it because of it being a team sport? It did not seem so, all other physical sports considered at that age where practiced in groups
If you would have asked me, I could not give a clear cut answer besides “just wasn’t for me”, as the above did not give me any solid reason. Still, there was an intuition why it did not ignite the flame for the sport, an idea that resonated: “Football? You mean just running endlessly after a ball?”
Finding reasons as a young adult
Instead of football, I chose martial arts instead. When thinking of the childhood question again, reminded of the times I did try to learn football, and instead played all kinds of “variations”. This was a fine mix of not (wanting) to understand the rules for football, and just playing what seemed fitting/fun.
So bending the rules was fun, there being rules wasn’t the issue either as both sports have them for the basics.
It took a quote to make it clear what was missing:
“We can’t play football unless everyone believes in the same made-up rules..” ~ Homo Deus Ch4 18
But how doesn’t this apply to martial arts? It had to do with the side outside of the sport, what it taught you when “playing” with others that don’t practice the sport; self-defense.
One of the first lessons that always stuck with me is “you are preparing for the rest of your life, preparing for a day that hopefully never comes”. This set off the curiosity for what this preparation did do; refining yourself and learning tons of concept you can relate to for the rest of your life. And that is why I have been practicing it since, grateful for stumbling across karate as a child and able to practice it since.