We don't train on MLK Day. It's always been a day of rest and reflection in honor of a great man. The more I read about the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the more I am in awe at his courage. Stepping into a ring and fighting another person is a piece of cake by comparison. King fought an entire system and his impact continues to ripple throughout the country today.
King's quote (to the right) informs my philosophy as a teacher. Teaching the mind only fulfills part of the goal. To create brilliant minds with weak character would be a disservice to our communities as we would produce half-formed individuals.
Hard training hits both of these areas as well. In the dojo, we educate the mind, train the body, and strengthen the spirit. I've often said that our hard training takes weak people and makes them strong; and takes strong people and makes them unstoppable. When I say that, the first instinct is to think of strong bodies, but those who have trained in Kyokushin for any length of time are likely more aware of the strengthen resolve and determination which permeates into all areas of their lives.
My goal as a sensei is to produce more that strong fighters. My goal, our goal, is to produce strong people.
Enjoy this day my friends.
We all started at the same place, and at the same time. Why then is it that we were all over the place after taking just 70 steps?
Simple: each of us is unique. Some are taller than others. Some have longer legs than others. Some are less flexible than others. In fact, with such a wide range of individuals, it would be wrong if we all ended up in the same place, at the same time. The stance of a young boy who stands under 4 feet tall should be a lot shorter than that of a man who is 6'7"!
There are a ton of factors in the world of training. Height. Weight. Conditioning level. Experience. Courage. Too many to really list actually. With so many variables, I'm constantly reminded that training in the way of budo martial arts is always you competing against the face in the mirror. In working toward perfection of character, we are always in search for progress...there is no finish line.
At our New Year's Day training we did an activity which hopefully got some of us thinking ahead toward how this coming year will play out. It was simple; everyone lined up, facing the same direction, and stepped forward with a punch about 10 times. At that point we stopped, looked at how the line had become broken, and then carried on for another 70 steps. At that point, the spread was much more noticeable, with 10+ yards between the student in the front and the student in the back. We gathered together and I shared these three encouragements about what will come in 2019:
1.) If YOU do your best and THEY do their best, it doesn't mean everyone will end up at the same place at the same time.
2.) NEVER sacrifice who you are just to keep up with the crowd.
3.) Every now and then, set aside time to STOP and LOOK. There is someone behind you who can use encouragement and assistance.
Of course, if you've trained with me, you know that it wasn't that short and sweet. Over this coming week, I'll draw each of those out just a bit.
Have a great week!