There I go, leaving a trail of blood again. The result of a Sai hastily dropped and intercepted by my big toe. While I tape up my foot I pondered the steps required to learn a weapon.
Learning a weapon can sure be hard. There is the awkward introduction phase, where I typically go through a very simple, yet important process for my own self preservation. This end is pointy, this side is sharp, this end is blunt, but still dangerous. The weapon looks like it feels, awkward, gangly, cumbersome. Pulling together any element of a form at this stage seems next to impossible. Generally this stage is accompanied by thoughts that perhaps I bit off more than I could chew, perhaps I should have stuck with something more familiar……like a spoon or fork or something.
Then, and generally after the weapon has injured me in some capacity, I come to realize that this thing actually served a historical purpose which entailed more than a demonstration by a newbie. With any luck, maybe I have realize just how the weapon functioned…well…as a weapon. Generally a watermelon or two has met its demise by this time. Spin, twizzle, slice, how did this historically serve its purpose?
Ah, then comes the relationship building. Sometimes I don’t like my weapon, and often it won’t like me. Now is the time to splice any remnant of Kung Fu skill and form into the function of the weapon. Maybe a bit of creativity can start to flow. This stage generally means a bit of disappointment, as my aspirations for what the weapon is capable of is limited by my skill. As a result the form emerges rather simple, with nothing complicated.
If history has a habit of repeating, then I can look forward to the stage of testing boundaries. This means exceeding my abilities and move to what seems like a regression back to the awkward stage. Mental note; place corks on the tips of the sharp bits, hockey helmet is probably a good idea for when I get to this stage this year.
With any luck, repetitions will pay off. With any luck this process of self learning will be as fulfilling as the previous years. But for now, let’s not rush through the steps, but rather enjoy the process, be patient and let things fall into place. Just hopefully with less bleeding this time.