On hitting the summit ...
This may seem a little departure from the usual theme of my blog - but the experience holds as much relevance for the martial arts, as it does in this context - so here goes ...
Most of the readers of this blog will not know that one of my favorite hobbies/passions is backcountry flyfishing. To cut a long story short - this is a very technical type of fishing/hunting where the goal is to visually stalk a trout, present (via flyrod) an imitation insect that represents what that fish is eating - and hopefully land it. Apparently, about one in ten thousand flyfisherman ever land a ten pound trout. In short, it is the lifetime pursuit of many, many flyfishermen to land one of these trophy/monsters - but I have several friends who have been pursing this goal for their entire lives and are yet to accomplish it.
Last week, on a five day excursion into some remote wilderness - I had several chances at some large trout. One of those produced a 12 pound monster, which for me, represented the 'El Dorado' of my flyfishing experience.
I have always wondered what I would do if I ever caught one - take it out, have it stuffed and mounted on the wall (as most would do) or release it back into the wild. When the moment of truth came for me, the decision became clear - it was just too beautiful an animal to be stuck up on a study wall - so back to it's mates it went. After this photo of course.
But the interesting part - and finally to my point - was how would I feel about flyfishing after having achieved the seemingly unachievable? Would this mark the end of my quest - and therefore the end of my passion - or would it mark a new beginning? I have known people to give up flyfishing after having caught the magic ten pound fish because they couldn't ever see it happening again, and at the same time, they could no longer see themselves settling for anything less ... a bit of a conundrum ...
I felt that way for perhaps ten minutes! Then I tied on another fly and walked a few more kilometres into the mountains. For me, having attained a goal did not lessen the pursuit of further goals - not in the slightest. Don't misunderstand, I am now into repeating my performance - I will seek out more chances at mote ten pound plus fish - but I will enjoy casting flies at three pound fish, no less than I ever have.
So now to the martial arts. The day comes, and you earn that Black Belt - then what. Is the journey done? Is that it? I think not - small pleasures will still be taken along the way, more techniques and concepts learned, more jumps on skill and understanding experienced - and so it goes. It is the pursuit that is important - the goal is the icing on the cake - and hopefully, icing that can be tasted again and again.
My apologies if the fishing stories seem off-beat. My blog - my fun - my life.
Train safe - Train smart.