What is the purpose of training for something? Usually, the aim is to improve some ability, achieve a goal, or pass a test. If you tell someone that you are training, the only natural question is what you are training for. Most of the time, this means that the goal attached to your training is probably not all that applicable to other parts of life. For example, training in a hobby like archery may steady your hands, strengthen your arms, and make you better at archery. How much further than that will the benefits go? If archery is just a hobby, it probably will not go any further; however, for the same reason, you probably are not intending it to go any further. This sort of training is certainly a nice addition to normal life but is not really essential. When time or resources get tight, hobbies get deprioritized.
What kind of training is the most valuable? What sort of training is truly essential? At Tumfo Tu, we train to master our movement for power and advantage. Movement is required for all other activities in life. When we train to master our movement, we train to master our homes, our bodies, and our lives. The key to training in this way is to let go of individual preconceived goals. These bias us toward measuring our progress only on the goals we have already created at the expense of everything else we might learn through the process.
Mastering our homes begins in our relationship with our homes. Mastering our bodies is rooted in our relationship to our bodies. Mastering our lives is a product of the relationship with ourselves. Grand Master Kajana once said that “if you cannot walk around your house blindfolded without running into things, it’s not really home.” Do you know your home that well? Are you comfortable enough in that environment to try navigating it blindfolded? With our bodies, we often have a preconceived notion about what it should do or look like. This idea usually comes externally and has no connection to what our body is actually best suited to do. Since life comes to us in moments, the only way to master our lives is to master this moment. This moment we have to master has never happened before. It is therefore impossible to expect the moment to behave in a nice, predictable, master-able way. Instead, we must begin by quieting ourselves to absorb what is present in the moment. The only way we can act as our true selves is if we are acting spontaneously on what we absorb in the moment rather than acting out of a previous intention that was not connected to the moment. Quieting ourselves and training to listen begins the cultivation of a relationship with ourselves.
The common thread in all of these is that mastery requires us to listen and become intimately acquainted with our environment. At Tumfo Tu, everything about training is aimed at cultivating these relationships. We train to act intelligently rather than flinch. We train to be at home in the most chaotic environment. We train to use our bodies in the ways our bodies are already best able to be used, rather than imitating something else. In all of these, we are learning to master ourselves. This training is deeper than any hobby or activity or even any training application on the floor. It prepares us to rule our homes, our bodies, and our lives.