Equal Opportunity

The mat is an equal opportunity training space. It’s one of the things I have loved about martial arts schools the world over. The rich, the poor, the educated, the illiterate and everyone in-between - can all share the mat, the ring, the the dirt floor - the rough and tumble of training does not make distinctions around skin or hair colour, religious persuasion (or lack thereof), social status, bank balances, sexual orientation, etc. The mat doesn’t care - and I love that!

The mat is a merit-based space. And that’s it. So naturally, it doesn’t suit a lot of people. There are many out there who want their ‘mask’ or their ‘trappings’ to mean something … again, the mat doesn’t apologise; or pander; or give anyone a free ride. And I love that!

I have lived in a slum; I have lived in a drain-pipe; I have slept in a palace; I have rented a one-bedroom apartment; I have owned my own home, and the mat never once; gave a damn! I have been happy, sad, excited, annoyed, frustrated, serene … the mat didn’t care. And I love that!

Training has always been the thread running through my life - and hours too, I trust. That constant thread - through good times and bad - through summer and winter … helps forge a better version of ourselves through rigour and study. The mat - doesn’t care who your parents are - what school you went to - the mat is a part of nature - it doesn’t care - it just ‘selects’ - and does so impassionatly. And I love that!


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