"The Empty Hand"

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Success and Failure

“Success and failure are not some huge event, they are an accumulation of many little events.” -Jim Rohn


Karate training takes a lot of work. There will be some bumps and bruises. There will be muscle soreness, some jammed up fingers, and busted egos. It takes up time, energy, and patience. It takes practice and more practice. It demands a dedication level that the “average” person is not willing to commit to in order to reach the coveted “Black Belt” status.

And what do you do when you achieve that status? You keep going. You keep getting some bumps and bruises, sore muscles, and jammed fingers. And unfortunately the busted ego only gets worse. You might assume that you should now be amazing at everything since you earned your black belt, but you keep training with people that are much better than you, faster than you, stronger than you, and smarter than you, and you realize just how much you still have to learn.


When do you finally get to feel like a “Success”?


Stop what you are doing and take a look back. Think back to your first months of training. Every movement felt awkward, your balance was way off, your strikes were slow and seemed like they took 5 minutes to reach the target. But you kept on training, showing up to the dojo, practicing here and there at home. And although each new technique you learned still made you feel like a beginner, the first movements you learned felt more natural, your balance was steady, your strikes felt fast and effortless. Success was taking hold the entire time.


When you can realize some element of success in your training over the weeks, months, and years, this was not the result of showing up to one particular class. This was not the result of picking up on one particular aspect of your training. This was the result of all the training and study that you have put into your art. This was all your effort and dedication turning into skill.


The opposite is true too. If you put no effort into training, or just show up and do the minimum, of course you won’t progress as much as somebody more dedicated. It’s not that the dedicated person has more time, it’s that they dedicated more time. The dedicated person isn’t blessed with 28 hours in a day, we all have the same amount of time. We are all “busy”, or my favorite excuse “too busy.” Some of the busiest people I know train at a dojo. Your success and your failures are simply just a result of your time and effort.

Again, Karate training isn’t easy. There are the bumps and bruises, sore muscles and hurt pride. There is a pain involved in this discipline. But that pain goes away and makes you stronger. There is also a pain associated with regret. Maybe you regret not doing your best, wasting your time and avoiding success. The pain of regret weighs tons and is much harder to recover from than a bump and a bruise.


Train hard and with intent! Thank you for your time




-john g

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