Life is a dojo.
Do means way and jo means place in Japanese.
Dojo is a place where you practice your way – in many cases it’s a place where you practice martial arts. It’s a place where people get together and help each other improve their own skills.
For me, my life is my art, and at the same time, I see my life as my dojo as well. That is, I see my life as a place where I practice my art and help others improve their own skills. You may have not realized this, but if you’ve ever interacted with me in any way, it’s very likely that you helped me improve my own skills in one way or another. You are part of my dojo.
When I say my art, it’s not just about the style of martial arts that I practice, but everything I do. The way I live, the way I think, and the way I act. Yes, everything. If I choose to do so, I can learn something from anything.
I met up with a friend of mine here in Kuala Lumpur. He’s Malaysian currently based in Japan, and he happened to be back in his home town. While we enjoyed eating delicious bak kut teh, we had some great conversations as well. One of the things that resonated with me and inspired me most was how he saw his situation. I’ll make it very, very simple, but the thing is, he saw his situation as an advantage rather than a disadvantage.
Let’s see how this applies to my own situation. When I started practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, most of my training partners were heavier and stronger than me. That is, I was lighter and weaker. Does this count as a disadvantage? Perhaps. If I let it be a disadvantage. But, I tell you, it’s an advantage. When you are smaller than your training partners and when you know there’s no way you can beat them by using brute strength, you need to change the way you think and change the way you fight: you need to work on your skills harder, because that’s the only way you will be able to beat them all. So, instead of trying to gain muscles and to get stronger, I focused on sharpening my skills. My apparent disadvantage was never a disadvantage for me. It was an advantage.
I’m practicing my art by writing this piece. I hope there is something you can learn from this or something that inspires you in one way or another.
The skills I want to work on may be different from the skills you want to work on. But, as long as we are here with the same aim of improving our ways and our arts, that’s what connects us together.
If you are in the dojo, I’m happy to help you get to where you want to be.
Are you in? What are you practicing?