The Ancient Art of Writing

Photo by Duran - Creative Commons

Photo by Duran – Creative Commons

I have a tale to tell that may seem like it has nothing to do with writing. It may take a while to get to the point, but I think you may find it an interesting read. It is the story of my martial arts training and it all began with a chance meeting.

Gary, was sitting in his council flat watching TV, when he saw someone doing back flips down the balcony outside his window. Not being an everyday occurrence, Gary went outside to see what was going on and got talking to the guy doing the acrobatics. He turned out to be Mr Park, a fifth dan black belt from South Korea, who had just started studying in the UK and was renting a flat on the estate.

Gary had always been into martial arts, and after a long conversation he was invited to start training with Mr Park, who encouraged him to bring a friend. He did, it was Dave, a good friend who was practically my ‘Brother-in-Law’ at the time. Dave went along for a few months and would tell me all about it. He kept on at me to join them, but I was sceptical about the whole thing. It was too much like something out of one of the martial arts movies I watched as a kid. I thought it was too good to be true.

One weekend after a particularly charismatic request from Dave, I signed up as a sloppy novice, and was handed a white belt. There were three students: Gary, Dave and me. We trained every morning, bare foot, in Notting Hill’s Holland Park, London.

Over the coming years we grew, the three of us passed through the ranks and earned our black belts. Not only did we grow from a small group training in the park to a large group training in our own club. We grew from novices learning the art, to accomplished martial artists teaching the new, less experienced, members.

Like Martial Arts, writing is a craft, a skill that can be mastered if you are willing to put in the time and effort. The more you write, the more you grow. You need to take the time to learn the fundamentals and from there you can develop your own style. I myself am still in this growing stage and hope to gain my black belt in prose in the future, so I will concentrate on getting the fundamentals right. I will work on the four basic elements of writing a novel: Establishing a theme, Building a world, Building the Characters and Building the Plot.

And if I can master the basics, hopefully, one day I will be called a Master.



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