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It is good (and important) to remember where we have come from. Understanding that what skills we posses, what knowledge we have, comes largely from the efforts of others. We might achieve success or notoriety through our personal efforts but very, very rarely could this be done without the help of many others. Ultimately, this is how society, and human endeavour continues to move forward … we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us … and see a little further as a result.
On the martial arts landscape, I have seen countless instances of people who have forgotten this. I have seen students (some of my own and many, many students of others) who becoming skilled seem to undergo some weird personality change, to the point where they suffer a kind of selective amnesia; such people forget that they too were once fumbling neophytes; and many behave as if they have been skilled all along and have somehow realised their talents without the help and assistance of others.
Regularly taking some time to reflect on where we came from, thinking about the people who have helped us get where we are (in life and on the mat) is healthy and cleansing for the soul. Over the course of our lives, we are shaped through our interactions with other people … the influence of the people we spend time with, is both subtle and profound. Regarding the kind of people we spend time with … choose wisely!