As some of you may know, I have had the pleasure of living in several Countries over the years. This has given me a rare insight into the ''mindset'' of various cultures.
The parallels between this and the Martial Arts are incredible..... Let me explain a bit better.
The people in any particular country are often 'carbon copies' of each other.
Here's what I mean:
If you go to country 'X', you'll find many of the people there like similar things... whether that's food, or TV shows, or music.
And what's more - they will believe the same kinds of things.
And...they behave in similar ways.
They'll have a certain 'World view', and a certain masuclinity (if male - at least I'd hope!) or feminity.
Fact is, that 'spreads' and replicates across the population...creating 'copies'.
I'm not denying people's individuality here, just saying this is what I believe.
And if you look at the UK for example, it's the same...
Does this sound familiar?
At 18, you are 'expected' to go to University, and choose a subject which will prepare you for a career ahead that is not only lucrative, but which will also afford you (and your parents) some respect.
At 22, you're expected to get a 'good job' that will provide a firm foundation for your life ahead.
A solid career...with a big 'Blue Chip firm that has your best interests at heart (!).
In your late twenties, you're expected to 'pair off' with another member of the species for reproduction.
Naturally, she is likely to be from the same country, probably the same area etc., and will have undergone a similar life path (so far).
There will be a 'white wedding' where you'll spend lots of cash.
Kids come next - probably two.
By now, you enjoy reading either 'The Telegraph' or 'The Mirror'.
Your favourite TV shows are Coronation Street (but you NEVER watch it), and you are partial to a little 'Strictly Come Dancing' as well.
You believe Eastenders is a 'depressing TV show'.(You only watch it because 'your other half' has to have it on.)
Owning a home is a great idea.
Mortgages are the done thing.
You believe Rolex watches are good, and that Porsche cars are desirable.
You only buy Gillette shavers and try and eat four portions of vegetables per day. (Trying to make it six, but don't know how anyone can eat that much green stuff).
You like Starbucks (skinny latte) and muffins (double choc).
Your holidays are usually in Lanzarote or Majorca.
And you believe that 'Zee Germans' always get up early to capture the best sunbeds.
Your next goal is to see the kids get a good education before a comfortable retirement in Australia, where you'll whittle away your time cooking sausage sandwiches 'on the Barbie' whilst indulging in your newly-discovered favourite hobby of gardening.
You'll be using Factor 178 sun-screen as you read somewhere you'll get skin cancer if not.
Alright, you may 'scoff' at my little description here, but no doubt a percentage of people reading this will identify with it - at least not in yourself, but in someone you know...
And if you went to The Philippines?
The above would change, but again - it would apply to a LARGE percentage of the population!(For example - change Lanzarote to Another Island etc., change Starbucks to Videoke etc).
You behave in a certain way.
You believe in a certain way.
You are a clone.
In short, society is like a huge 'boa constrictor' that wraps around you...moulding you into a certain form.
OK, so where am I going with this?
Simply put, if you're not very careful, you'll find yourself constricted into a certain 'model' that's set out for you before you were even born.
Your particular society...wherever it is...acts like a boa-constrictor...forcing you into a certain mould.
"Come off it, Russell!" you might say.."I like Strictly Come Dancing!".
Fair enough, but the problem with the boa constrictor is that is unlikely to lead you to 'think differently'.
And so when it comes to doing this kind of stuff...Training in the Martial Arts - Learning how to be the best that you can possibly be?
Well, the boa constrictor probably won't like that.
He'll try and 'squash'you back into the 'normal' and comfortable mould.
You can see 'clones' more readily when you travel; in different countries (Dojos), the clone is different, but it's still a clone.
Thinking the same way.
Believing the same stuff.
What about you?
Has the 'Boa Constrictor' put you into a mould...so you're unable to'think differently'?
And do you even know that there's a boa constrictor wrapped around you, 'constricting' you into a pre-defined shape?
What does he make you believe about training?
How does he make you think about training?
What does he make you do...on a day-to-day basis?
Three questions worth thinking about... preferably before you suffocate!