5 Questions about "Martial Arts are Education", featuring Jesse Enkamp
Loving the pursuit of wisdom more than the comfort zone.
Jesse Enkamp is the founder of www.KARATEbyJesse.com - the world's #1 karate blog, best-selling martial arts author, international champion, self-titled "Karate Nerd" and founder of Seishin International - the world's first crowdfunded & crowdsourced karate suit.
[SE] Why should somebody dedicate so much time and effort to training Martial Arts?
[Jesse] To dedicate time and effort to something is to be passionate about it. Most people don't have a passion about anything. But Martial Arts can be the spark that ignites your passion! It's a tragedy of modern life that we are more enthusiastic about temporary pleasures, shallow entertainment and instant gratification than the intimate connection to ourselves that the pursuit of deep passion brings. For me, Martial Arts is not a hobby or sport. It's a way of life. I dedicate myself to training my mind, body and technique in the never-ending quest of self-discovery through Martial Arts. Then... I share my journey with those who want to listen. This is my passion.
[SE] How do you think the practice and study of Martial Arts has empowered your life?
[Jesse] To study Martial Arts is to study yourself. The punching and kicking are just a façade. However, Martial Arts has not empowered my life in itself. Rather, it has allowed me to empower myself - through increasing my knowledge of self. After all, the eternal questions of mankind are; "who am I" and "what is my purpose in life"? Martial Arts has given me the ability to answer both these questions with clarity and integrity. When practiced the correct way, Martial Arts is nothing but a flashlight for illuminating the sides of us that we didn't know existed... or didn't want to know existed. Martial Arts truly reveals your character. Your character reveals your destiny.
[SE] Who are the masters that have influenced you the most in Martial Arts?
[Jesse] Good question! I have been fortunate to meet many great masters during my travels, especially in Japan and Okinawa. Many of them taught me incredible lessons and helped me improve my techniques. But... it would be unfair for me to hold any master's influence in higher regard than my own parents' influence. As I said before, Martial Arts is a way of life for me. My parents might not be the greatest fighters, masters or champions on earth - but their influence on my Martial Art is greater than any master in universe will ever have. Simply for the fact that they introduced me to life. With both it's good and bad sides. I'm sorry if this is not the answer you wanted to hear, but it's the truth. Never forget where you came from.
[SE] In your opinion, what is the role of philosophy in Martial Arts? How important is it?
[Jesse] The term "philosophy" comes from the Greek words for love (phylos) + wisdom (sophy). In other words, philosophy is the passionate pursuit of knowledge. Unfortunately, many people are afraid to learn new things. Why? Because to learn something new means admitting that you didn't know something before. Their ego won't allow them to learn. But if you'd rather be attached to old knowledge than search for new knowledge, Martial Arts is definitely not for you. So swallow your ego. Keep learning. Keep searching. Keep growing. You must love the pursuit of wisdom more than you love the comfort zone. When you understand this concept, Martial Arts becomes a wellspring of joy. That's the role of philosphy in Martial Arts, in it's truest definition of the word. It's importance cannot be overstated.
[SE] Finally, what is your goal as a Martial Artist, student and teacher of the Art?
[Jesse] My goal is simple: To never reach my goal. Because if I do, that means I set it too low - and then I will have nothing left to aim for. This sounds like a paradox, so let me explain: The only reason I have goals is to give me something to strive for. To fight for. Because if you don't fight for something, you'll fall for anything. As a lifelong student, practitioner and teacher of the Martial Arts, I hope my journey can inspire Martial Artists worldwide to see the bigger picture. To elevate the collective consciousness. Although we are on different paths, we are all striving to reach the peak of the same mountain. Sure, there is only one moon to be seen at the top... but it's big enough for all of us to enjoy. The goal is the journey. The destination is the Way.