Learning to Surf…….

Jiu-Jitsu legend and mixed martial arts pioneer Rickson Gracie oince said, “We cannot control the ocean. We can learn to Surf.”

In terms of jiu-jitsu this could not be more true, especially as a new practitioner of the art. You will be put into situations and positions that seem well out of your control, and even against your best efforts to the contrary.

Your efforts to control all of your opponents actions will only serve to tire you out, and bring you closer to defeat. Jiu-Jitsu forces you to go with the flow, to ride the wave, to focus not on changing the tide, but using it to carry you into position.

Surfing is not about conquering the power of the ocean, but harnessing part of that power to carry you out of the water, to connect, and adapt to the situation that is present in that moment, and to adjust for the coming changes.

Jiu-Jitsu,and  Life can be less about controlling, and conquering everything in our path, and more about making a real connection, learning to use what seems like never ending chaos, obstacles, and adversity into opportunity after opportunity. To glide across our problems, through adversity, to make all the chaos in our live turn into fuel for our passion…..if we just learn to surf.

-Joshua Page

Hickory Academy of Martial Arts



Out of Harms Way Episode 7: You can’t run from your problems

Our seventh episode on bullying, and bullying issues deals with dealing with your problems head on, and finding positive outlets to deal with stress, and the people in your life who can support you through a bullying situation.

See all of this series as it unfolds: http://www.outofharmsway.ning.com
Facebook @Out of Harms Way

“The Constant Gardener…”

We had a “secret gardener” recently that donated flowers to the front of our school. They came in and arranged them in some nice flower pots, without ever taking the credit for them. Of course in a small town like ours I was able to find out who our secret gardener was.

I haven’t said anything to them yet, it has been too much fun watching from my office window as they come and go from our school pausing each time to tend to the flowers. Smiling as they remove the weeds, and put the flower pots in just the right position. It makes me feel good to know that however bad their day might be going, whatever stress they might have in their life, that waiting at our doors is a small sliver of sunshine, a reminder of the beauty they are spreading in the world.

Thats the wonderful thing about kindness, it affects both the giver and receiver. It does not diminish with time, or wash away with the rain. Real kindness grows in both it’s reach and depth over time.

Are you ready to start gardening yet? You have the power to cultivate fields of happiness and joy in the lives of others. What seeds will you sow this week?

Falling Leaves…

While I was driving this morning, I could not help but notice the leaves starting to fall off the trees. Seeing the leaves floating away in the cool breeze brings a certain feeling of comfort. It is almost as if the trees are taking a big sigh of relief, as a huge burden gently falls away.

Nature is so perfect at removing all those things that are unnecessary to the trees, that overabundance of leaves that would otherwise weigh the trees down over the cold days that lay ahead. Of striping them down to the bare essentials to let them continue to grow strong roots during the winter, and be in a position to spring back to life in full bloom as the cold days give way to the warm sunshine yet again.

Do you have an overabundance of leaves, as you head into this next season of your life? Are you burdened by the weight of all of your possessions, both old and new. In our ever expanding pursuit of things does the collection of more “leaves” make you happier, healthier, wealthier? Do they help you capture the best from your life?

Lift up your branches and let all that is excess, all that weighs you down, all that takes away your focus from what is vital, float away in that gentle breeze.

Take away the abundance of your possessions, to experience the joy of truly abundant living. 

Challenge yourself to spending the entire winter without buying anything new, except for the absolute essentials. Experience the joy of getting the full value out of everything you own, out of cultivating appreciation for the things that you have and need, not for what you want.

-Joshua Page

“Flow with the Go”

I know, I know, it should be “go with the flow”, however Jiu-Jitsu and mixed martial arts legend Rickson Gracie said it that way in an interview once and it has been stuck in my head that way ever since.

This phrase came alive to me while I was trying, mostly in vain, to paddle myself and my three boys around a lake in a small canoe this weekend. My oldest in the front trying to help paddle (in the wrong direction), his one minute younger twin brother rocking the boat side to side, and the youngest between my legs trying to stand and put his hand in the water.

The canoeing trip I had planned in my mind was just not playing out the  way I had hoped it would, to say the least. It wasn’t until I let go of my plans and decided that it wasn’t about making it to all of the great spots at the lake, it was not about having the perfect outing, but it was about  taking advantage of the time we had together. To just relax, and go where the lake decided to take us. To stop wasting all my energy and focus paddling us to that perfect spot, and making the most of the spot we were already at.

So many times we get caught up in the pursiut of perfection, the perfect vacation, perfect house, car, spouse, kids…the list goes on. Life however is not about perfection, it is about loving it’s imperfection, it’s quirks, it’s uniqueness.

Our boat, our family, our lives my not be the same as yours. We might seem to be going in circles, while tiny voices boom out silly songs, and sway precariously back and forth, but as long as it is filled with the people we love the destination will always be the same……Happiness.

Where are you furiously paddling too this week? Have you already arrived at your destination but you just haven’t realized it yet? I hope you are able to take a moment to just “flow with the go”, enjoy the crazy ride we are all on, and let the destination take care of itself.

By the way the oldest can now paddle, his twin can lean and help steer the boat, and the youngest knows that Lake water is way to cold to explore for too long!

-Joshua Page



Empty Presents

The absolute joy of opening a present…Is there any comparison? “I wonder what it is…..It feels heavy!….please be a….it’s just what I always wanted!” That feeling of anticipation, the elation we get as we tear into that gift is such a thrill that cannot be duplicated….until we see another present.

The hip new sweater, turns into “so last season” far too quickly. That new Ipad turns into last generation technology before we can even really learn how to use the old one. The brand new sports car turns into last years model, even as it is rolling off the lot.

No matter what the material gift is, how much it fills the box it is in, it is ultimately an “empty present”. It does not serve to satisfy us long enough for the next thing we decide to acquire, or add to our wish list.

Not to say that object, presents cannot hold a lasting value, or meaning. As I write this I cannot help but notice the watch my wife gave to me for our 10 year anniversary sitting beside me. It is one of my most valued possessions, but the value is not associated with the cost of the watch (which my wife will never let me forget!) or even the watch itself. The value is on the memory that it helps me to keep, of the weekend we spent celebrating 10 years together with a much needed getaway to the mountains.

It also serves to remind me that our most valued presents are not cars, or clothes, or jewelry. They are the moments we share, the memories we create, and the love we cultivate person to person, minute to minute, hour by hour, day by day. Our most valuable present is time itself, and each day we wake we should tear into that time like it was the biggest, shiniest present that you have ever laid eyes on!

I hope you are able to unwrap far many more days, than you are “empty presents”, and you fill the present of time with your full and loving presence.

-Joshua Page



Selfish to Selfless

Traffic…..it brings out the best in us yes? If you get cut off, your mouth and fingers…well one of them…seem to be on auto pilot. However if you are the one cutting someone off well….you are late for something important!

Both are equally selfish and I bet you have been on both sides of that coin, I know I have, especially the cutting people off part (it was for something important right?).

Traffic, like any pressure situation, seems to squeeze the worst out of even the best of us. It serves as reminder to us that far too often we act and behave as if we are the only person on the planet with responsibilities, important matters, pressures, and stress.

Two quotes keep circling my brain that help me during the pressure situations. The first is “it’s not about you”….the idea that conflict by default is always between two or more people. That if I only consider my feeling and viewpoint, I am only getting half the story.

The other quote that keeps me sane is “in the end, only kindness matters”. Being first in line, or missing my exit will in the end of this life be of no consequence. What I say, do, think, and feel as a result will have ripples and waves far beyond my days on this earth.

We can’t change traffic, we can’t always change how people treat us, but we have control over how it effects us, our happiness both present and future.

Btw, if I happen to see you in traffic…remember I am going somewhere important!

Moving Forward, and Letting Go

Whenever a martial artist walks on or off the mat they all perform a simple gesture, a bow. It is a custom that is about showing respect to the place you are training and to your instructors, it is also a great reminder to be humble enough to recieve instruction.

More than that it is a great way to let go of the problems and stress that you might be carrying with you. Training provides an escape from our stress, and an outlet for negative emotions. It’s a way of letting go.

Letting go is one of the best gifts of walking on and off the mat each training session. We hold on to our anger so closely sometimes, it becomes our focus, our mission, our life. “Holding on to Anger is like drinking poison and waiting for the person you are angry at to die” -Buddhist Saying.

What are you angry about, what is that anger doing to help you, can you change the situation with your anger? If a bow onto a simple empty mat can drop the weight of the world off your shoulders, imagine the power of deciding today is the day that you will let go of your angry and move forward with your life.

Whats the worst that could happen? At the least you can stop being angry at whatever it was, and just be mad at me for giving you bad advice…and we can both live with that!

-Joshua Page


The Joy of “under abundance”


Many of us….most of us live a life of abundance. Just take a look in your closet, in your kids room, or playroom, oh and check the fridge while you are at it. We are surrounded by an over abundance of so many “things”.

In the midst of all these things like the clothes that we will never wear, the food we will never eat, the toys our kids will never play with, we still continue to collect more and more. Each purchase has it’s own promise of happiness, and sometimes it even delivers…until the next new shiny thing catches our eye.

It becomes and ever continuing and widening cycle that we all, myself included, get caught up in.

If we know and recognize that this is a part of our daily lives, that we are living in an ever increasing mountain of “stuff”, and more importantly we still don’t seem happy, or satisfied I present the following idea:

Live a Life of “Under Abundance”.  Get rid of all the things that we don’t need, every thing we wouldn’t replace if there was a fire. Strip away all of the excess, so we can concentrate on all the things that do matter. Take out the things that we just like, so we can focus on the things that we love.

Maybe as a result we will be able to really enjoy the people and things in our life that matter most, maybe we will even stop running ourselves in circles working to much and too hard for the things we don’t really need that can never bring us the joys of “under abundance”.

-Joshua Page


“Bent, but not yet Broken”

Tattoos can mean so much, it is a lifelong commitment of a picture or phrase on your body. I enjoy learning about the meaning behind some of the tattos my friends have, as I am to chicken to get my own!

One of my instructors, Tammy, had a tattoo that had very deep meaning with her, and it has been in my head even since she passed away just a few days ago. It was a ribbon that symbolized her fight against cancer, and it had the words bent but not yet broken above and below the ribbon.

So many of us feel broken. Like the mistakes we have made are irreversible. Like the situation we are in is inescapable. Maybe even like we have no power over what is happening in our life.

The good news is you are far from broken. No matter what the odds are, no matter what the situation is, broken is a state of mind. We have the power to fight, to claw, to dig, to struggle through what is holding us down.

Pressure is what can change coal into a diamond. Our struggles, our trial, our tribulations are a proving ground for us to unlock our potential, to grow, and to be transformed.

So many people with so many blessings spend their time counting their worries. Enjoy the people in your life, your passions, your goals, your struggles while you can. We will never have enough time, there will never be enough good times, enough laughs, enough moments that take our breath and hold our hearts. It is what makes our time so precious.

Be present in your life, with the people who love you, with the things that capture your heart, fuel your creativity, and self expression. Leave your mark while you are still able to make it, Be bent, be bent well beyond your limits, but never ever be broken.