Horsing around with my more macho family members (as weI do from time to time), after being flung against wall by a friend of the family (as I am from time to time despite my size and training--there is just no substitute for the street smarts of some of my older relatives and friends--they fight dirty) he did a techique that I actually recognized from a korean style. I come to find out that
he has a lot of experience, over 25 years, in the martial arts, but none of it is formal. He acquired his training from a relative for free, and he's been in a few street fights. From what I can gather, his knowledge puts him at a least the third degree black belt level. The only person he's instructed is his son, a good, well behaved teenager who only had to defend himself once against a high school jock. The jock was outclassed and luckily the son took it easy on him.
I asked him if he would train me after I get my black belt. My school requires the 1st dans to develop their own training path, either through outside training or private lessons from a mentor. His response was one that I've heard echoed from other people I've met over the years who don't mind showing ME a couple of things or giving advice if they sneak up on me practicing in a secluded area. I call it the Jaded Master Syndrome.
A person I call a Jaded Master is someone who has studied the martial arts from a very early age, is basically a nice, well meaning person, has their "gung fu" down to where it is second nature, but due to one or more bad experiences around the martial arts or fighting--and here is the kicker, they may not have necessarily been BEATEN--decides that it is too risky to continue learning and/or training, and hides out from the martial arts community. Most people will not recognize that the jaded master is a martial artist.
I can pick them out. I tend to notice if a person is very well disciplined, seems to have a fluidic manner of handling conflict, are unusually calm in volitile situations, and displays a great deal of strength for their size. Another thing I've picked up on (thanks to these forums) is if a person actually pronounces the names of various martial arts CORRECTLY, and can correct MY pronunciation. In addition, if a person is horsing around (as in what we call "play fighting", "slap boxing" or friendly wrestling) and stops themselves short of applying a lockt or goes into a stance to catch their balance, most people don't notice. I DO. A lot of times if they find out I'm a TangSooDo student from a friend or relative, they look delighted, where the average person is usually afraid or starts badgering me to take them to my teacher so they can learn how to be like Steven Segal!
These Jaded Masters have a lot of information I think they can share with the rest of the martial arts world. Every time I have ever had a conversation with one they telling things that eventually move me to the next level. I'm glad that they feel comfortable talking to me, otherwise I would have never known some simple pointers about real fighting or realized how truly important it is to master the basics.
Whenever I suggest that a Jaded Master should become a teacher, they are reluctant. Even if I tell them that I would like to train and will keep my source of knowledge a secret they resist. Even if I remind them how they can help the good people protect themselves from the bad ones, they tell me their hard luck story and decide to stay in the closet so to speak.
My fear is that the information they have may be lost. My only hope is that since I tend to be a magnet for some of these types, I can pass on what they've told me to my students once I decide to teach.
MY QUESTION ARE:
1) How can you get a jaded master to come out of their shell? Is this even possible?
2) SHOULD I try to get a jaded master to "come out of the closet"?
3) Should I just be glad that I actually listened when someone pulled my ear for a second instead of ignoring them like I've seen other people do?
4) What types of situations may make a person decide to withdraw from martial arts?
5) How can I keep from becoming a Jaded Master myself?
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