I've been hearing from a number of people who feel the same way about their training as you Al. People go through different cycles of their lives with different needs, desires and with different skills, abilities and health.
We are all aging and are experiencing life changes that don't always match our expectations.
For some of us, it is tough to let go of what we were (or at least thought we were) and calmly enter yet another rung in our life cycle. Some of us mask our fears with bravado while others of us look in the mirror and elect to hide away during the last and most unwelcomed phases of our lives.
Senior members of our clan, have for years rested on past accomplishments and the traditional respect that was an important part of the martial arts. . . the 'mystique', if you don't mind this term. . .
As an art, Uechi-ryu and other systems of the martial arts are at a crossroads. Those of us who are the stronger of the clan, can, with a brushstroke of the pen, take down the once mighty and now frail. We can join the UFC and other groups that sell "tools" and push away all who don't fit into the mold of the young, tough and healthy practitioner of the moment. Or. . . we can return to the middle kingdom of the martial arts. . . that era where most of us entered the martial arts and dispense instruction and counsel, with both intelligence and heart.
Every student has the ability to make a decision upon entering a martial art school. Is the teacher one who will provide what the student is looking for during this stage in his/her life. Can the teacher only provide instruction for certain students and will ignore all others. These and other questions a new student must ask and answer.
Every person who has entered and exited many cyles of life experiences also has the ability to select his/her training methods, based not on what is best for a teacher (regardless of that teacher's skill), but on what is best for the person who ultimately, knows what is best for him/her.
What was possible for you thirty years ago may not be something good for you today.
By all means, subscribe to "Soldier of Fortune", but don't get depressed because the CIA won't hire you to take out a terrorist group.
While I'm still functioning as part of IUKF, the organization will continue to have both intelligence and heart. There is a place for both "mystique" and technology. That means there will always be a place for you, Al and all the others who may not fit into that narrow band of ability, age and health that some elect to define as a model for all.
For some of us, it may be simply showing up for class and participating in a soft Sanchin. For some of us, it may mean only sharing experiences on these forums.
But I promise you that there will always be a spot for you to do your Uechi-ryu Al. But even after you lose all those other physical abilities, you must never lose your Uechi "mindset". That is what will get you through the low spots in life.
Whenever I get a little depressed with the things that piss me off in life, I call Bill Bauknecht. His "mindset" is that of a tenth degree black belt. He was Art Rabesa's toughest fighter twenty years ago. Today he is Bill Bauknecht's toughest fighter. He trains differently now and he doesn't let anyone or anything get him down.
Did I answer your questions Al?
Help me out with the following, George.
How does one regain interest in the fires of which the embers of excitement and desire hsve been fading and are now dying out?
Do I no longer have anything left in me to offer Uechi-ryu?
Does Uechi-ryu have nothing left in it to offer me?
Is it time for me to move on?
Am I getting to old to think about fighting anymore and refuse to fantasize what was in my youthen days?
Have I passed the stage where I feel the need for Uechi-ryu in my life?
Has events which have transpired before me over the past year or so worn through a thin facade?
Have I tried so hard for so long that there's no spirit left?