Connected, everything is

Published 7. July 2016.

We spend so much time comparing things. Trying to decide if one is better than the other. When it comes to fitness and the myriad movement arts it trends toward dogma and moral superiority (I’m as guilty as any, sorry Tae Kwon Do and other sport martial arts).

Frankly all this debate is a waste of time. It does not matter what is objectively, if we could ever make such a strong claim, better. Why? Because even the ultimate art of supreme domination (and sexification) doesn’t work if the person practicing isn’t enjoying it enough to keep on coming back to practice for years. Consistency is key to both improvement of skills and health. If it’s awesome but everyone quits after a few weeks or months then it isn’t the “ultimate art.” There are none, not for everyone.

But for any one person there might be that one special art (or two, or three…) that they absolutely love.

The reality is that everything is connected. This is true of the universe and it’s certainly true when it comes to systems and approaches to movement—whether it’s dance, martial arts, navigational skills, hunting, you name it. Everything is connected.

Each art is dealing with the same raw material, the human body. There may be tens of thousands of movements, and an infinity of variations upon those, but when you take a high level view there are far more similarities than differences. Most differences come from a difference in context and the purpose for the movement. That is also why what I stated earlier, that there is no “ultimate art” rings true, because context is king.

And context includes the all details of your life: your situation, your preferences, etc. I find capoeira and climbing interesting, as well as modern dance, but I’m not as attracted to the approach of gymnastics or ballet*. Still, I do make use of many of their movements and apply them where they are useful to me. Systems are helpful until they get in the way of growth. Don’t get too attached to one approach.

(I wrote this a while ago, and amusingly enough both gymnastics and ballet are now becoming relevant and interesting to me. Just more evidence in favor of avoiding dogma and deciding you don't like something before first gaining a deeper understanding of it.)

So I encourage you to experiment with different arts, it’s hard to say what one may you may like from the outside looking in. Regardless of your choice you’ll be moving and challenging yourself to grow and become more skilled over time. I find that it’s the progressive climb to mastery that offers the most rewards, rather than a adhering to a specific system or set of techniques. So get out and move. Don’t worry about what’s better or best, just find what resonates with you. As you keep practicing you may find that if you venture into new territory that your existing skills will help you climb all the higher, on whatever mountain(s) you choose to ascend.

Because connected everything is. That’s my yoda-ism for you today.