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Terroir and Martial Art






In French agriculture there is the word "terroir", meaning "area, region". The term has become internationally known in connection with viticulture. In this context it stands for the interaction of (natural) factors which determine quality and character of a wine. Among those are soil composition, topography, rainfall, sunshine duration, temperature profiles, frost, fog, etc.

In addition to long-range forces there are also locally limited influences, e.g. the microclimate, microbiological properties, variations of sun exposure, different mineral content, different heat retention and soil moisture fluctuations on one hillside, because on the opposite slope there is a farm within earshot, so birds get startled by the squeaking of pigs and therefore move to the calmer side to peck for food, thus causing a bit more erosion which influences the flow of water. In principle there is an infinite number of potential parameters. And so it is possible that, in spite of seemingly equal conditions, neighboring plots yield quite different results.



Cultivation and Rearing of Martial Artists


are likewise shaped by a large number of influences. There is the overall climate in one's club and in training sessions, the ground of the gym and its changing temperatures and the mental erosion of members and officials in clubs and associations. Is the training hard or rigid or dynamic or soft or weak, are there quality checks, belt examinations or rank giveaways, progress or stagnation with color change, illusion or reality, are practitioners pampered or given a wake-up-call, what are the instructors doing, how is the behaviour of other students, brakes or boosters, sport paradigm or perspectives, are there phoneys or role models ?


Besides the general characteristics of the training process, there are also very local and temporary influences, which sometimes only last minutes or seconds but which can have decisive impact.

More specific: there is this guy who blocks so strongly that it hurts and causes bruises, one rather avoids him or tries to practice with him for toughening, and then there is the guy who deliberately misses attacks, that is so snug or futile, and then there is somebody who is so fast that one cannot parry, that is frustrating or motivating, and one teacher always shows the stuff which one is not good at and which one does not like, and with a different teacher one feels so sovereign, and one can only practice things necessary for belt tests or go and see what else there is, and one can curtail exercises to be finished earlier, and one can look for the rank examiner with the lowest failure rates, and then there is this awfully nice instructor who never corrects mistakes, or one gets straightened out by some other vintner in order to receive proper fertilisation, and ... or ... or ... or ... and ... and ... and ... and ... .





analogies must not be stretched too far. Above all, there is one fundamental aspect where the comparison does not apply, where everyone ought to let the comparison fail, namely the relevance of the grape variety. In winegrowing it plays a crucial role. In martial arts it should become less and less important over time.

For more on this topic, see also the article "Advantages and Disadvantages".



And so


anyone can enter or prepare his personal terroir and decide whether he wants to become a Château Latour, a Chappellet Cabernet Sauvignon, a Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a Casa Lapostolle Clos Apalta, a Penfolds Grange, a Fontodi Flaccianello or some diluted sugared glycol swill Pont Bonheur du Clochard. Or rather one does want to become a Château Mouton-Rothschild. Let it be understood "to become". Because nowadays, prestigious labels are often awarded to any plonk.


© 2010 TDI