Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Being Connected

I recently was walking down the street when I observed a small group of teenagers. As they walked down the street they each had their handheld devices and were actively texting-each other. It drove home how reliant we have become on technology for communication and connection. For example, we no longer hand write letters we just text or send emails. Even though I was born before the invention of both the cell phone and Internet, I am by no means a Luddite. In many cases I have been an early adopter of technology that makes our lives easier. And while the world has grown considerably smaller and we can now remain connected globally, it seems we are remaining connected in an age of disconnected interaction.

This highlights the importance of practicing martial arts in such an age even though it may seem anachronistic. It is important to be in a tech free environment like a dojo, on a regular basis. Its important to have actual interactions,where social skills and the art of conversation and dialogue are required. Its important to connect to others on differing levels as you train together. Practicing a martial art also puts you in touch with history. In many cases, the art you are practicing is decades if not centuries old. It is transformative to be a living part of history. It makes me realize that I am part of a group of people who felt that the art I am practicing was worth preserving. That there were many before me and if I am diligent in the transmitting of what I have learned, there will be many after me.

This is what it means to be truly connected, to be part of something that is larger than you. To be the catalyst of transformation for others, one at a time. There are many times we don't see the scale of what we are doing and how many people we have impacted until way after the fact. In many cases we may not see the entire scope because it can transcend our lifetime. However, it is important for us, in our quest to be connected that we not lose sight of daring to take on those endeavors that are larger than us, than any one person. Immersed this way we can always remain connected.

strong spirit-strong mind-strong body

Sensei Orlando

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