“Adopt the pace of nature.
Her secret is patience.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Compared to Mother Nature’s most impressive achievements – towering mountains, mind-blowing canyons, ancient forests – the most important features of our own individual lives are developed in one-billionth the blink of an eye. Yet developing virtues like knowledge and wisdom, or skills like – say – becoming a skilled warrior requires what can seem to us sometimes like ages. For a person who has only been on this planet of ours just a couple years, in particular, the time it takes to become the people we dream of being can seem to move at a downright glacial pace.
It’s always been like that for us humans, of course. But far more so in this age, when any information or entertainment we could ask for is just a click away. But for all the knowledge that we gain, all the task made easier for us and all the ways or lives have been enhanced, there is no technology that can help us grow meaningfully as people. That growth -- natural growth -- comes at nature's pace: slowly.
And that creates a challenge for the modern-day martial arts instructor. So long as we keep teaching our young students new and different moves and techniques, they're happy. But excellence in martial arts has very little to do with how many techniques a warrior can perform. “I don’t fear the man with ten thousand kicks,” Bruce Lee once said, “I fear the man who has practiced one kick ten thousand times.” So turning a martial artist into a truly fearsome fighter requires slowing things down in terms of new and different, and spending more time on perfecting the old and familiar.
And that requires acquainting children of a high tech age to become more in tune with the patient pace of nature.
It's a vitally worthwhile mission, and not just because it helps in our goal of creating mighty warriors. Learning patience is its own reward, and opens up a whole world to those who achieve it.