In martial arts….and in life in general, we have a tendency to look at the big picture, the destination, our big goals and can’t help but be overwhelmed sometimes.
All of our doubts and fears begin creeping in and it is easy to become discouraged, lose focus, or just plain lose the drive to continue.
When the destination seems to far away, the goal to big, or the mountain is just to tall to climb, that is when we need to focus on the power of small victories.
After all, what is any huge accomplishment, but a collection of many, many small victories.
The Black Belt that just walked into class…..they didn’t earn that black belt from one grueling black belt test. They earned it from 10,000 regular classes, from 10,000 small victories. From those days they didn’t feel like coming to class, but did anyway. From that time they had a bump, or bruise, or small injury…..but they came anyway.
They reached their destination by taking each mile, each hill, each obstacle step by step.
Each small victory has a way of accumulating as you go. Of helping you gain traction, gain momentum, building speed as you go. Like the old steam powered trains that started painfully slow, and gradually build up steam and momentum until they are rocketing down the tracks unstoppable towards their destination.
The question is not will you reach your goal today, are you equipped for your dreams right now? The question is what step, no matter how small, can you take today? What small victory can you accomplish this very day to keep you on those tracks, moving just the tiniest bit forward, or maybe just from keeping you from rolling back? It might seem insignificant now…..but 10,000 days from now it may be the moment that made all the difference in your entire life.
So get up, get out, and get moving….and win SMALL today!
Joshua Page, Hickory Academy of Martial Arts
Mass shootings, car bombings, riots, and genocide are words that we hear all to often in today’s world.
We are faced with some pretty harsh realities every time we turn on TV, the radio, online…..pretty much anywhere we get our news these days.
It is easy to get caught up, to begin to worry about who is sitting behind you in the theater. About that noise you thought you heard. About that stranger walking too close to you in the parking lot……but……
The reality is right now, statistically speaking, is the safest time to live in all of recorded history. For the most part we come and go through our daily lives in relative safety, without the threat of injury, dismemberment, or death from our fellow man.
The sad reality is that we are more likely to get attacked by ourselves than anyone else.
Our heart is more likely to harm us than anyone else. The killer hiding downstairs is the refrigerator! Filled with type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure….and some Tupperware with some new strain of fungus growing steadily.
We are more likely to be harmed by our device, induced insomnia. By our inability to sleep and decompress without some show, movie, or podcast blurring in our headphones than anyone hiding under our bed.
We are more likely to sabotage ourselves with self doubt, with apathy, and just plain laziness then have someone tamper with our brake lines.
The good news however is that we are our best defense against……..ourselves. Here are a few tips of keeping you safe from YOU!
- Turn the devices off! Take time to be connected to people not the internet. To be surrounded with silence every once and a while. To get lost in nature more, and online less. The truth is we are designed to be a part of the world around us, to engage with people, places, and things, and without the aid of a screen.
- Trash In, Trash Out! You literally are what you eat. Pick foods that make your body feel good, even if the don’t make your mouth feel good. Buy foods with an ingredient list as small as possible, and made from ingredients that you can pronounce without a chemistry degree. Eat to enjoy the next ten years of your life, and not the next ten minutes.
- Invest in Yourself Everyday! Your success, your joy, your health is not a result of major change over short periods of time. It is made from small, incremental changes that we stick with over time. That crash diet…..is going to crash in a few weeks, but the decision to eliminate carbonated drinks will pay dividends for your entire life.
These are just a few, but they are more than enough to get you started. Good luck, and GET UP, GET OUT, and GET MOVING!
“Daddy I slip a lot less when I hold your hand.”
My Son was talking about the rocks we were walking across, but he reminded me the importance of being connected to the things that keep us from slipping, and keep us moving along the right path.
Life is too complex, too difficult, and just plain too tough to get through without having to hold onto someones hand from time to time. Without having to lean on someone, or something to get you down the trail. Without having to be part of a group for direction, comfort, and safety during our trip.
The question is, whose hand are you holding, what are you leaning against, what group do you travel with.
Life brings us the opportunity to strive for perfection, to seek out the best in ourselves through the help of others, to allow us to be guided and lifted by those who see the destination ahead, and not the side trails that look promising but lead to nowhere.
Chose the hand you hold carefully, choose the things you use to prop yourself up, surround yourself with people concerned with the destination, and the ones who walk the right path, even when it is not the easiest path.
Most of all even when no one is around to help you, when Daddy has already reached the end of his trip, you still have a Father who is always there to guide you, to hold you, to put you on the right path, to hold your hand and let you know everything is going to be just fine.
Safe travels, God bless, and Thank you to the people who hold my hand when I need it.
Joshua Page, Hickory Academy of Martial Arts
Good manners, common courtesy, and respect seem to be in a bit of a decline in recent history.
With the advent of social media, and the power of anonymity it provides, it is easier than ever to say and do things that you might not do in person. In a society that seems to be speeding up exponentially, people just don’t seem to have the time……..for patience.
Popular culture is bombarded with examples of this type of behavior, even our Presidential Debates have taken on a decidedly “Jersey Shore” feel to them. Most of the popular shows, movies, and media are filled with topics, and language that are anything but respectful, courteous, and kind.
As we go speeding through our day, inundated with bad examples, running eternally late, tethered to our devices is it any wonder why manners seem to be in short supply?
In fact manners might be considered one of the great challenges ours and future generations face. Why is that you might ask? Because manners….how you speak to others, how you treat others, how you act to the people we meet, the people we love….and those that we have trouble dealing with is in direct relation to the amount of self respect we have for ourselves, for the respect we have for the people around us, and is a direct reflection of the morals, and principles that guide our lives.
Can you have good manners, and be devoid of solid morals and guiding principles? Of course you can (See: Eddie Haskell), but you cannot have solid morals and guiding principles without having good manners.
Yes Sir, and Yes Mam are the building blocks of something far more important…..Respect.
That is one of the most powerful lessons Martial Arts teaches us. Having an environment, where it is the rule, and not the exception to use manners sets the stage for mutual respect. Having an environment where there are high expectations or consequences for what comes out of your mouth, fosters responsibility. Being held to a high standard of behavior on and off the mats, is a great way to build a leader.
From bowing on the mats, to shaking the instructors hand, looking classmates in the eyes and thanking them for a good class, bowing to an opponent before you fight and hugging them after the match is over, respecting the hierarchy of belts, and being expected to demonstrate and perfect required lessons/techniques, to helping new students…..the list goes on and on and on. Martial Arts is one of the few places where manners are expected, morals are not just taught, but displayed by the teachers and high ranking students, where respect, kindness, humility, and perseverance are celebrated, encouraged, and taught…..one on one, without screens, without phones, and without apology.
-Joshua Page, Hickory Academy of Martial Arts
However the circles we run today set the foundation for success to come.
Success and life seem like they should be linear, but like everything in the universe they undergo constant changes, beginnings and ends that at first glance seem like a cat chasing his tail, a beautiful disaster, but on closer inspection are all nessesary pieces of an amazing and purposeful puzzle.
Embrace the choas of today, to experience the beauty of what is to come.
Rewards, trophies, bonuses, titles are all powerful motivators.
Companies use it to drive productivity, schools use it to improve grades, parents use it to encourage good behavior.
Rewards are great, and they work well…..but they are only the first step in reaching your potential, in reaching the high levels of success and happiness.
When we start to see past the rewards, past the carrots dangling in front of our faces, we begin to see the action is the reward.
That eating healthy is its own reward, exercising is the reward, that self improvement is the reward…..that doing the right thing is the reward….then we will not need the trophy, the carrot, the promise of something good coming our way.
When we seek to do the right thing in every interaction, every opportunity, we make room for ourselves to be successful, to be happy, and to be blessed with infinitely more than a carrot on a string.
Everyone is prepared to win. To accept victory. To hold the Trophy.
Not everyone has wrapped their brain around being…….well……just plain whooped.
It takes the right frame of mind to accept that today was not your day, that no mistakes were made in the judging, no excuses can explain away, no amount of denial will erase the fact that today you were the nail, and someone else was the hammer.
Most people react to being the nail by quitting whatever it is that they happen to be a nail in. That might be a karate, or jiu-jitsu class, it could be a sport, it might even be a class at school, a subject of interest, or even a relationship.
To them being a nail is too much of many different emotions, like embarrassment, like failure, like they are inferior, like they are weak, like many different things that just makes their stomach churn.
What they fail to understand is that being a nail is the only way understand how to be a hammer.
As we begin to deal with what the hammer throws at us, we first begin to understand how to survive adversity, we begin to be toughened by the hammer, we have a chance to calm down in the face of it, and start to see when it is headed for us.
We start to be able to resist it’s force, we begin to find it’s patterns, to understand it’s movement, to know how the hammer does what it does.
Compared to the newer nails we hardly even look like a nail anymore, we certainly don’t act like one. We have been forged by the hammer, not driven away by it.
We are ready to become the hammer, to keep the new nails in check, and shape them the way we have been shaped.
We will teach them how to become a hammer by being a nail because we understand the process through our own experience, through our own perseverance, and through our own time as a nail.
Wherever you are in your journey remember it is a never ending cycle. Sometimes you are the hammer, sometimes you are the nail. Either way, just be glad they haven’t put you back in the tool box yet!
I was talking with a friend of mine who owns a martial arts school. He was talking about a new competitor down the road who was advertising non-contact sparring.
I understand each school is different, and “not everyone wears the same clothes”, but if you are leading people to believe you are teaching martial arts…….shouldn’t there be some contact…..when you are learning how to fight?
Are you going to institute a no-submission jiu-jitsu class next, or perhaps a no touch self defense course?
If you exchange contact to keep a contract…..that’s fine, be up front about it. Become a martial fitness studio…teach tae bo, or another type of karate themed fitness.
However don’t promote kids to belts they didn’t earn, for contact they didn’t make, for lessons they did not learn……don’t tell the Emperor how fine his clothes are, all the while he is standing naked.
Teaching children to be fit, instilling life skills is great, it is beyond needed, but teaching them to be honest, to be up front with your intentions is just as important. If you are fooling kids, and their families into thinking that they are learning self-defense, into being able to fight, to be able to deal with the pressure, and stress of being hit, by a bully, and attacker, or just life in general….then all the positive coaching, life skills, and attitude boosting will be woefully inadequate to cover the bruises left from learning all that “non-contact sparring”.
The world goes round and round never stopping, never waiting. We think that if we stop doing, stop working, or stop worrying that it will pass us by or swallow us whole.
The truth is, on a long enough time line the world swallows us all up, passes us all by, regardless of what we do to stay afloat.
The good news is that we have the possibility each day to stop…..and just breathe.
All the joy in the world can be contained in just one breath, all the weight of the world can be felt dropping off your shoulders with one exhale. Time can stop for the space of one good breath.
Find somewhere to breathe, somewhere to live your life for just a second, somewhere to simply be.
Joshua Page, http://www.hickorymartialarts.com