Once I was fortunate enough to have been young and strong, but now I find myself to be lucky enough to have lived to become much older and weaker.
For all the bounty of youth with its benefits of physicality it comes with the enormous built in flaw of an unsettled and immature mind, and for all the flaws of old age with its deficits of physicality it comes with the enormous built in benefit of a settled and mature mind. From these differences of youth and age comes the multiple benefits of impartial compatibility. It is only the extremely wise and extremely stupid who cannot be changed by daily practice. We become of budo by these deliberate daily efforts and not by what is in our nature, and so it is this training that makes actual what character makes possible.
When we are young and immature we cannot appreciate the littleness of great things in ourselves, and so we cannot see the greatness of little things in others. We are who we are because of how we stand to others. These deep problems of budo are rarely honestly addressed, but after fifty six years of training, I have finally negotiated a truce with myself.
When we are young and immature in our training we tend to only understand technique, but by only understanding technique we make our bodies lazy. Budo is the lengthy search for meaning, and meaning can only come about through the way of maturity, patience, and benevolence, and as such budo is a most valuable resource and one of the best hopes for the mankind.
Budo does not focus on youth or age but it focuses on balance, both physical and mental and through these teachings we learn interesting and surprising ways to not do what our opponent or antagonist thinks we will do. Study, and therefore we will become. This way of life may become an addiction, but it is just an excessive form of truth seeking. This is the pattern of budo analysis and it is soaked in treasure and sweat.
The scars of my youth may or may not measure well against the scars of another, but they are my scars and I know their depths. This is to become a victim of the human condition and we are all cut by the act of living. Our psychological survival requires that we must stop our drift to ‘me’ and draw back to ‘I’.
When we are young and immature we are all decidedly tough in the mirror, but now, I think that I am merely a shadow and not even a reflection. What we were is not necessarily what we will become, as the seeds of budo will not have departed and gone. Of the worst things to encounter is bad budo that believes itself to be good. Maybe, it is that the good old days were never that good in the first place.
We must get up and train, and we must get up and smile, then we must show the place where we want our budo to go. The older we get the better we become at being human beings. In budo, as we get older our perception becomes deeper, and in this way we make our paths always free to walk. We must daily reconcile the mistakes of our pasts and make amends the best we can, but we must also understand that not all wounds will heal. Love is a concept by which we measure our pain.
Old age is not a time of weakness but a time of multiple hidden strengths such as patience, endurance and courage. With patience and endurance we become more able to bring the off balance back to the centre and to take to the centre back to the off balance. The depth of our courage and endurance becomes easily understood as the betweenness of cowardice and rashness. Youth only values what is on the outside and so it will always be clumsy on the inside. Immaturity is the conviction of youth and it is time served sentence, but with good behaviour one can always have an early release.
I worked a young and reckless life as close protection for billionaires and as such I was ruthless, relentless and utterly iron willed, but now I am older, weaker and much less reckless, as such I am much more dangerous.
With solid technique, soft movements and grey hair I now pay my rent by standing in a room where the budo is strong.