Archive for July, 2011

Unsung Heroes

July 20, 2011

This article is about the thousands of unsung heroes throughout the martial arts world. The senseis who don’t have a big reputation and don’t run their own clubs but nevertheless turn up every week to pass on their knowledge. Often they do this in spite of the fact they can’t train to the same extent as they did before because of age or injury or both.

Injuries are a way of life for any martial artist or sports person. It’s really sad when an injury means that you can no longer train with the same intensity as before especially if you’re still young or relatively so. For most people this signals the end of their martial arts career as mentally it’s too painful to be in the Dojo and not be able to train as they did before. At the moment one of my 2nd Dan’s, Lee Penston attends every week despite chronic back pain which means he can’t train as well as he did before. He went through the pain barrier and more to get 2nd Dan and now he’s taking it easy in the hope his back will heal. I for one hope it does too. For me it’s a huge bonus to have his knowledge, enthusiasm and teaching ability available to my students. I know he still feels as though his knowledge and technique are improving as he teaches but I also know how hard it is for him not to spar especially when he’s wistfully watching the groundwork!

Age of course is something that comes to us all and of course we can adapt our technique to combat this to some degree. Even so I really admire the older Senseis like Sensei Jim Trowers and Sensei Eric from Kyoshi Mike Johnson’s club and Sensei Reg Pagin from my original club in Liverpool who keep turning up and making invaluable contributions to their clubs despite creaking joints and other ailments. Their contributions are invaluable not only for their technical advice but also for the stories of old that make study more enjoyable and make you feel part of a lineage.

Finally there are many Senseis who are still able to train to a good level but may not aim to get another grade and just enjoy training and passing on their knowledge. London Ju Jitsu and I’m sure thousands of other clubs like it wouldn’t be able to run as well and certainly wouldn’t be as enjoyable to be a part of without these dedicated people. As mentioned at the start of this article for me they are the unsung heroes of martial arts.