Friday, April 08, 2016

The Buddy System

It's great to have a buddy.  Many of us fondly remember school outings where we were paired with someone and expected to take care of our buddy, just like our buddy took care of us.  This kept everyone from getting lost and (hopefully) helped us make a few new friends along the way.  PADI also uses the buddy system for divers, to ensure safety and help make scuba diving as enjoyable as it can be.

I am also a big advocate of the buddy program in martial arts.
It takes a lot of courage to walk through the door of a new dojo for the first time.  Even for those of us who have done it most of our lives, there is always just a little nervousness.

Buddies are different than mentors (I am a fan of mentoring as well). Mentoring implies partnering with someone senior to you, while buddy implies someone you already know who is at the same level as you are.

Bringing a buddy with you to check out a class is a great thing to do.

Moral Support at the very minimum, having a buddy with you can often be the spark that gets you to finally try a class, even if you have been wanting to do so for some time.  Your buddy gives you moral support so you don't have to feel as uneasy during the trial lesson, and they are there with you for the journey once you start.

Sense of Perspective some schools can be very focused on new student recruitment, and couple their trials with a heavy-handed sales pitch or a long-term signup commitment.  It is nice to have a buddy with you who knows you to make sure you make the right decision.  Martial arts classes have the power to help you transform your life, but you need to choose wisely.  A good buddy can offer you sensible advice.

You are Both At The Same Level at the beginning, it can be a bit intimidating, especially if you have no prior martial arts background.  Learning the basic movements, even tying the belt, can be frustrating.  Often times you feel like everyone is watching you...  With a buddy, you are both at the same stage of the training, and this can be very comforting.  Years later, you can reflect on how far you've come together - one of the most wonderful feelings of all.

Inherent Sense of Trust Martial arts involves trust, since we don't want to get hurt during the training.  Going with a buddy helps make this easier since you know each other and can depend on not going all out or having a "Rambo moment".  Over time, of course, you will develop this trust with your other brothers and sisters in the school, but at the beginning it helps to know you can work with someone who won't hurt you.

Deepening Friendship Martial arts training is not like going to play tennis at a tennis school or playing baseball in the park.  Because we practice fighting skills, the training is always a bit edgy and intimidating.  In FMA, our arts are based on the blade, so we frequently train with weapons and in close-quarters.  I have found that having a buddy deepens our friendship significantly -as though we have gone to boot camp or basic training together, prepared for war.  My brothers and sisters in martial arts are much closer to me than my friends from other social circles could ever be.  Bringing a buddy can help deepen your friendship to one that will last throughout your lifetimes.

Martial arts is a journey, and journeys are always best undertaken with a buddy.

"We start together we finish together"


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