Tumbling Down the “Why” Hole

Why do you practice martial arts? If it’s for fun, once you’ve achieved a good level of fun, why seek to get better? If it’s to win, why does winning matter? If it’s for artistic or personal mastery, why?

Like getting caught into a conversation with the pedantic child who always asks “why?”, down the why-hole lies madness.

When I asked a student of mine recently why she was interested in achieving a deep level of mastery she said: “I find when I ask those kinds of questions I usually get depressed. So instead I don’t question. If I’m excited about something, I just pursue it.”

Pursuits outside of the mainstream tend to get more questions asked about them than those that fit into existing templates. Rarely do my friends who play soccer get asked “What’s the real world value of doing that?”

I’m not advocating a shying from why questions but simply questioning the value of why. If what I’m doing, or how I’m doing it, is causing harm to myself or others, then “why” can be worth asking. But if your journey broadens your mind, expands your heart, or feeds your soul; why ask why?

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