As a 4th Dan Shotokan and a Tai chi practitioner, I am intrigued by the unusual position of martial arts in society and the ambivalent view that people often take of activities such as karate.
This is exemplified by the response "Oh if you do karate, I’d better be careful what I say." Generally voiced with a degree of respect and humour, but clearly a lack of understanding.
Like it or not the serious martial artist (and certainly in my experience most senior grades are serious people) is looked at rather sideways by society at large. Indeed often also by our own students until they have progressed and gained a measure of understanding.
Since I believe that martial arts and associated activities have a great deal to offer people at many levels, I should like to address this issue in a general way.
For me these unusual aspects of martial arts were highlighted when I went with my daughter to an archery club, where we had six weekly introductory coaching sessions.
For the first time in many years I was able to compare my own experience as a student in a martial arts class and was surprised how used I had become to a high level of care and detailed instruction.