On my Way

There is unrest in my dojo. Teachers are arguing, some have already left. I don’t know where things are going. All I know is that I want to keep doing karate. But where and how is to be explored. At the same time, it has been five years since I graduated and I am trying to find my way in a PhD research project, As for me these two explorations have much in common, today, I did some free writing to explore their connections.

I am on my way. At this moment in space-time, my journey intertwines the disciplines of karate and musicology, guiding me towards personal growth and artistic transformation. Through these interconnected paths, I find the means to refine myself as both a human being and a musician, delving deep into the realms of character and artistic identity.

In the pursuit of mastery, both karate and music demand an immersive practice. I learn through active engagement, immersing myself in experiences, contemplating, creating, and conversing. I delve into texts, pen my own thoughts, engage in dialogue, teach, and constantly question, nurturing a holistic understanding of these disciplines.

Embracing these practices requires a profound introspection, a fearless exploration of my own soul. I uncover my deepest desires and fears, learning to accept and confront them with courage and resilience. Karate and musicology become lifelong companions, shaping my way of life and becoming a profound part of my being.

The artist’s greatest adversary is often their own self, plagued by fears of failure, judgment, and rejection. The burden of seeking external validation, adapting to please others, and compromising one’s own essence can overshadow the creative process. Through cultivating a tranquil and unwavering mindset, I attain a heightened awareness of my individuality, my character, and my role as an artist.

Whether through a traditional concert, an impromptu performance, or a captivating YouTube video, the manipulation of sound aims to stir the senses of the “other.” This encompassing “other” encompasses the listener, the audience, the spectator — experiencers engaged with all senses. The true artistry lies within the connection formed between the performer and the listener, where the medium of music communicates and resonates.

This is the story of my journey, a narrative of rediscovery, repositioning, and reidentification within my work. It unfolds as I traverse from being a musician to a musicologist, and further still, to an artistic researcher, expanding my horizons. It signifies a transition from certainty to uncertainty, from constraints to liberation, from familiar grounds to uncharted territories, and from self-focus to an embrace of collective spaces.

As a musician and musicologist, I draw profound inspiration from the martial art of karate and its philosophical underpinnings in Zen Buddhism. The concept of “do,” meaning “the way,” encompasses a lifelong dedication to cultivating one’s character, thereby fostering personal growth and, in turn, nurturing a better world rooted in peace, respect, responsibility, and awareness. For someone like myself, navigating the challenges of autism, karate offers a confrontational yet transformative path, where I learn to embrace fears, persevere through failures, and constantly strive for self-improvement.

In parallel, my musicological practices mirror the training of karate. Just as karate shapes me as a person, musicology shapes me as a musician. Each discipline encourages me to unearth my own character and artistic identity. Through their practice-based nature, I glean insights from experiences—creating, performing, contemplating, studying, and questioning. It is through this multi-faceted approach that I evolve and refine my craft, ever-growing in my artistic journey.

This way, writing that I am “on my way” for me encapsulates my profound exploration of self, the interplay between karate and musicology, and the transformative power of these practices. It signifies my unwavering commitment to personal growth, artistic evolution, and the boundless possibilities that emerge when one embarks on the path of the artistic researcher.

My name is Martine and I am writing my PhD about the Cyborg Mermaid. On this website, you’ll find blogs about autism, cyborgs, fan fiction, King Alfred of Wessex, mermaids, music & musicology, martial arts, (neuro)psychology, video games, and random nerdiness.

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