There's an expression that goes something like:
Lions don't lose sleep over the affairs of sheep.
I like it.
I really like it.
I don't think it's an arrogant or self-righteous idea, but it could easily turn into one. Rather, to me (if I can be so bold as consider myself a lion) it's a reminder to not lose sleep over things that just aren't important. That argument at work? Most likely not that important. Dinner was late? Not important. House is on fire? Maybe you should take care of that.
Most of the things in my life I have little control over. I'm growing in learning and growing here, and caring less about those things I cannot control. I can control my words (most of the time) and my actions (most of the time) but I can't control you. I can't control your opinion of me or what I have to say.
The idea of not being able to find rest because I'm preoccupied with someone else's opinion or something else I have ZERO control over is almost comical now.
I like to sleep.
I'm not going to give it away for things that don't matter.
I remember this song playing during the last week of Basic Combat Training at Fort Benning. Here we were, a room chock full of newly trained soldiers...thinking we were some serious badasses. All of us; every single one of us...man we were reduced to a sobbing mess when this song was played during one of our class sessions.
I am grateful to God for those men and women who sacrificed themselves for this country. I'm humbled beyond words by the fact that there are husbands and wives, sons and daughters, moms and dads, who have had to say goodbye too soon.
So today, do three things for me:
1. Grill something. Animals are preferred, but I hear you can grill other things too.
2. Drink a beer. If you're not 21, enjoy a beer of the root variety.
3. Take 30 seconds to reflect on the family you have in your life today that others don't.
Have a thankful Memorial Day.
I've written about this before. I think about it a lot more often though. While we are naturally geared to identify errors and hypocrisies, it feels like we've tilted too far in that direction. We have become willing to overlook the great accomplishments of men and women and, instead, focus on their faults. It's easier to do that, but we all know that the easy way isn't typically the best way.
I've read people go as far as to demonize Martin Luther King, Jr. for some of his personal faults. Seriously, that's how far we've tilted. From what I can tell, this movement seems rooted in the confusion between equal opportunity and equal outcome. Tearing people down because their outcome turned out better than yours is wrong. And it's not just wrong for you, everyone around you suffers.
Maybe it's the dad in me, but I get pretty fired up. My biggest problem is that when we tear people down, who do we have to look up to? When we have no heroes, who do we point to and say "Son, be like that" or "Daughter, live like that"? We need men and women to point out to our kids. WE need heroes to look up to! Don't believe me? Look at the box office. We (globally) are longing for stories of heroes.
I never met Lieutenant Michael Murphy; I've only read and seen stories of him. He was a warrior. He was a good man. He was a hero. He is one of my heroes.
Below is a clip from the film Lone Survivor (NSFW due to language) which shows why Murph is a hero of mine. It takes a hero to make the right decision over the popular decision.
For what it's worth, I let my kids watch movies like this. I want them to see men and women who are better than me, who are stronger than me, who are more honorable than me. I want my sons to have men and women to look up to...but that's just me.
To say that I’m excited about this camp would be the understatement of the year! This year, I'm looking for a dozen young people from across Montgomery County who want to take on this challenge: an introduction to real, hard, budo karate training. To help answer your questions, and plan ahead, I’ve broken down some considerations by category below:
We will train from 8a-5p each day. There will be three slots each day dedicated to Kyokushin karate training in the dojo. Additionally, we will have a 45-minute session set aside for reading and reflection (and recovery). I will have several books to choose from; karate related and other material good for character development.
The Uchi Deshi Camp includes a “PT” uniform; consisting of shorts and two t-shirts. Those wishing to purchase a dogi (karate uniform) are more than welcome to do so. We will be staying in one of the two uniforms all day!
One aspect of this camp that I’m particularly excited about is that we will be completely “unplugged”. Checking e-mail, text messages, Facebook, Instagram, etc. will have to be done outside of our 8a-5p window. This is going to require some planning on your part to make sure you communicate clearly with your friends and family. In case of an emergency, you should encourage your family to call the dojo phone (240-899-3517).
In the spirit of Budo karate, we will also be pursuing some service projects during the week. I’m still working on wrapping up the final details for those projects, and will let you know our partners as soon as those details are nailed down. Remember, we train to make our minds, bodies, and spirits stronger; not just for us, but so that we can be a blessing in our communities!
Lunch and snacks will be provided each day. There will be a “lounge” set up with items to enjoy during rest/recovery and break times. This space will also house a lot of the reading material for the reading and reflection times each day.
To register, check this link.
As always...send me any questions you have!
Looking forward to a great time training with you all!
Two summers ago I ran an Uchi Deshi Camp here in Gaithersburg. It was an opportunity to participate in a focused week of training, completely unplugged from the outside world. It was an incredible success in so many ways. There's definitely something special about the group that was able to successfully navigate through the rigors of that week.
Well, I'm doing it again. This time with one major change. This year, the program will only be open to teenagers; students entering grades 6-12.
Think about it...9 hours of training for 5 consecutive days. No cell phones. No computers. No television. Hard physical training. Reading actual books. Being outside. It's going to be another awesome experience.
One stipulation that will be in effect again is the size limit of the group. Again, I'll only work with a maximum of 12 students during each of the week long experiences. Actually...I shouldn't say "only". To be quite honest, I don't think there are 12 youth (or their parents) who are brave enough to take the challenge.
If you're one of the brave souls who is willing to take a week and really work on improving yourself, on unleashing that warrior that may be sleeping deep down inside, then click here to sign up.
If you've got any questions...anything at all...send it my way.
Pick. Your. Battles.
Think about your last "battle". It could have been a debate, a heated argument, or a physical trial. Was it worth it? If you could do it all over again, would you have done the same thing?
Most of the arguments I get in have very little significance in the grand scheme of things, and often I regret engaging in them. On occasion though, there are those battles which, controversial as they can be, are worth the risk of engagement. Not just engagement, but whole hearted commitment. Typically, there aren't many of these that we come across in our lives, so when you come across one of them, you sure know it.
I've been teaching for a long time now. I've seen the trends of culture change. I've seen the effects of cell phones and instant access to information. I've seen the explosion of social media.
I've also seen adolescent depression and anxiety skyrocket. I've seen more pressure put on kids than they can handle. I've seen an increase of procrastination and a decrease in planning, scheduling, and discipline.
Our kids aren't doing well...at least not nearly as well as they could.
I know what they need. What they need is incredibly simple, but a significant challenge, for all of us involved. What they need is countercultural. What they need, is training in warriorship.
And while creating a new, warrior mindset would benefit all of us, my heart goes out to seeing boys grow into men; strong men and not big boys who shave. That's the hill I'm going to die on. Creating a warrior mindset in young boys and teenagers so that we will all benefit from a generation of men (producers) and not just big boys (consumers).
To help kickstart this in the MoCo area, I'll be running two, week-long camps this summer. Training in warriorship for 9 hours a day. Training...not playing because dammit, this isn't a game.
I'll be doing a Facebook Live Q&A this Wednesday a noon EST. Jump in, shoot me some questions. I'm eager to hear what you all think.
Last week in the dojo I had each of us go through a significant, physically demanding trial. Simple, but extremely challenging.
Pushups. Squats. Crunches.
How many? All of them! We performed as many repetitions as we could without stopping. Pushing ourselves to that point where the mind was willing, but there was nothing left in the muscles...man it's always tough.
We all pushed to our breaking point and then, once we were finished, we continued with more normal training.
After about a half hour, I presented the real challenge. Take your numbers from the first set of pushups, squats, and crunches and do 150% of the reps. Sure, breaks we allowed this time and while it was definitely an exercise in mental toughness, we were all pushing our bodies to a new limit.
We don't do that often enough. I am amazed some times at how much our bodies can do...that our bodies WANT to do...we just ask so little.
I'll never forget years ago talking with my wife and trying to explain what a Pistol Squat was. To this day, I still cannot do one. The envy that I felt when Amy said, "Is it like this?" before executing a perfect Pistol makes me smile to this day.
Our bodies are stronger. Much stronger than you think. Demand more and you'll see what you're capable of. Continue sitting on the couch, and you'll never tap into that greatness inside. Test yourself. Do one more rep. Run for one more mile. Do. One. More.
And get to the dojo.
"Samurai should, as a matter of course, engage in contests of strength. If you do not then your muscles will become slack."
The Hundred Rules of War