I was flying to teach at Longpoint recently, and while on the plane, I watched a film called I Can, I Will, I Did. It spoke to me on a rather deep level, sufficiently for me to want to write a quick review of it, to bring it to the attention of my fellow martial artists.
I don’t want to provide spoilers. Suffice it to say that it is not a “normal” or “traditional” martial arts film where the good guy beats up a bunch of bad guys and wins the day. Instead, the main character and several other characters experience martial arts as a way to improve themselves and face the challenges that life brings to them.
The film is touchingly written and very well put together. It is not too long, just under two hours, and yet it tells a great story.
For someone who has not yet experienced the great internal calm, joy, and purpose that training martial arts can bring to your life, the film may offer some hints and suggest that taking up martial arts might be a good move. I agree wholeheartedly. I think martial arts play a huge role in helping us be healthier and happier people. I have even written an article about what I perceive to be the value of HEMA to modern life, and I curate a page on my website to explain my philosophy for training and teaching which carries over to my own everyday life.
For people who have already had the great fortune to experience the calm, joy, and purpose that training martial arts can bring, along with the challenge and the sweat and the effort and the frustrations, and yet coming out on top with a smile on your face, then you will see much of your own experience in this story.
I spent the entire film with a smile on my face, thinking back to my years doing karate, the countless hours I put into the simplest motion because often just standing up and doing something was sufficient challenge to a person with worries, fears, and hopes; thinking back to the effort I put into bettering myself as a person.
I spent the whole film also thinking about the years I have put into training and teaching HEMA and the many more years I hope, expect, and intend to put into training and teaching HEMA, to help develop and improve both myself and those around me. Seeing my students become better at life is one of the true joys I experience on a regular basis and it delights me to be part of this transformation.
Conclusion: whether or not you already do martial arts, go watch the film. If you have friends with children, who are on the fence about whether or not to enrol their children in a martial arts class (of any kind), tell them about it and tell them to watch it.
Martial arts means more to life than just hitting people.
Keith Farrell teaches HEMA professionally, often at international events (why not hire me to teach at your event?), and has an interest in coaching instructors to become better teachers. I teach regularly at Liverpool HEMA, and help behind the scenes with running HEMA in Glasgow at the Vanguard Centre.