I get this a lot.
“Sean, I really want to learn Jeet Kune Do but there are no instructors in my area.”
The first question that always comes to my mind whenever I read or hear this, is: “Where exactly does this person define to be his/her area?”
I know of instructors that travel around the world to teach.
I also know of practitioners that consistently travel around the world to learn.
So the way I see it, you can either invite these experts to “your area” and teach you (which is what I do), or you can travel to meet them (which is what I do).
Notice, I have used the word “travel” several times now.
“But Sean, I don’t have the time.”
“But Sean, I don’t have the money.”
Aha! So those are what it all boils down to.
Time and money.
Understand this: everything in this world is an exchange of value.
World class experts are already successful at what they do — quite frankly, they do not need anything from you.
They have put in a lifetime of dedication, sacrifice and training to master their craft.
Just because they are successful, does not mean that they are obligated to help you.
How do you expect them to give you any value, if you are not prepared to invest in them in the first place?
Quite often, when I drill in deep enough, I realize the real and unspoken question is actually this:
“What is the cheapest and most convenient way to learn martial arts?”
“What is the best way to learn martial arts without having to spend time and money?”
Are you kidding me?
Well, if you are gifted with an extremely high Martial Arts IQ, if you are an extremely effective, discerning and independent thinker, if you truly know what you are doing — you CAN be one of those rare self-taught martial artists.
I can only speak for myself. When I first started in the martial arts, the only things I were certain of were:
- I was a slow and confused learner.
- I was pretty much clueless about everything.
- The more I learnt, the more lost I felt.
Therefore, I knew if I were to do this alone, I would take a hundred years to get everything right.
I knew I had two choices: I could either complain, or I could seek help.
Well, seeking help costs time and money right?
So I put in the damn work.
When I needed to buy my first Wooden Dummy, which costed $1500 at the time (it was a ton of money for a 19 year old), I had three choices:
- Complain and do nothing
- Get a cheap-ass one from eBay for a couple of hundred dollars
- Earn the money and get the best
I went to work as a Substitute Teacher for eight months to not only get a top grade Wooden Dummy, but also to pay my mentor and take “unlimited classes” in Wing Chun with him.
Complains and excuses would not have done that for me.
Now, you must be thinking — “This still does not answer what can I do if there are no instructors in my area.”
Earn the money, make the time and travel.
Just like how I funded my own learning and equipment needs.
I have traveled many times to compete (épée fencing), train and learn from the best.
In fact, every single time I travel, it is to achieve the above. I don’t do “leisure” trips; training is my leisure.
And I am pretty sure that if you have read up to this point, you know that you can do that too.
You can either make the sacrifice NOW, or be one of those “I wish I had done this and that when I was younger” kind of people.
Martial arts is the lifestyle of dedicated sacrifice. — The JKD Man
Be a martial artist, not an “excuse artist”.
Your sacrifice will be your reward.