The cutting away of these illusions and the blossoming of the students’ ultimate abilities are the responsibility of the student and teacher together.
If you’ve spent an extended time practicing the martial ways, you know that there are many types of people who end up in the practice hall. Just as in life, they each have different motivations for being there. As an instructor you have also had to deal with the many reasons that students come up with, especially when they begin their practice, of why they are special and need a bending of the rules.
Some of the favorites that I have come across are the person who told me that they were not flexible enough so they would prefer to skip the stretching sessions, or the person who told me that they had very sensitive feet so they would need to wear protective socks when practicing, or the person who said that they had special hydration needs so they would need to stop practice to rest and drink water on a regular basis. The list goes on and on and this post is not meant to belittle any of these people or their needs—that said, generally speaking, most of these reasons are simply illusions that are created in one’s mind to protect ourselves.
“Now wait a minute!” you say loudly, those are all very legitimate concerns that people have with documented medical conditions!
Perhaps, but that is why the only way that you can truly learn a martial way is from a qualified instructor. A true teacher who has learned from a long line of well qualified teachers has the experience and knowledge to be able to understand each of their students’ limitations and abilities. It is the teacher’s job to gently guide each student to their ultimate limits (and slightly beyond) while watching out for their safety. The limit of each students ability, endurance, energy etc. is usually far beyond what they personally perceive it to be.
The cutting away of these illusions and the blossoming of the students’ ultimate abilities are the responsibility of the student and teacher together. All the teacher asks is that you keep an open mind, don’t create excuses or hurdles for yourself and abide by the rules of the school. After all, in some schools, the rules and traditions have been around for hundreds of years and many people (including those with illusions) have successfully learned to persevere and master whichever art was taught there.