The other day I bought a record album off the Internet for the first time (look at me… “record album”!). It wasn’t too hard; within thirty seconds I had a fresh digitally downloaded copy of Johnny Adams sings Doc Pomus.

The other day I had a parent ask me, “How much longer until my kid gets a black belt?” These two instances are very different and yet identical. The commonality is immediacy. A generation ago that would have been unthinkable. Well, to be honest, in my youthful ignorance and impatient attitude I did ask once…, but, oooohh. I didn’t do that again. It was just not done.

But today I have to handle those sorts of , “When is my next test?” questions differently than my instructor did back then. The reason is that most people buy a song off the web just like I did the other day. They used a fast pass to pay the toll on the bridge, not stopping, just whizzing by. They used a bus pass they renewed off the web. Heck, nobody waits in line for concert tickets anymore. So in a world where many needs are almost met instantly, why would the martial arts be any different?

The difference is this. To buy a really good musical instrument, say, a guitar, you go shopping. You need to go feel it; you might do some research, but the purchase of an expensive musical instrument takes time and actual physical contact. It is something you can’t get on the web or with a fast pass for tolls. You have to spend time and feel the art. And just like a good musician meld with the great instrument. you need to meld yourself with the techniques of your art.

The one thing that can’t be compressed and e-mailed is the dojo floor.

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