At the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, British sprinter Derek Redmond had his dreams of an Olympic medal crushed by a debilitating hamstring injury in the middle of a semi-final race.
But whereas most athletes would just submit to defeat, bend over, and cry, Redmond was determined to finish what he started. So, he picks himself up off the ground and begins hobbling around the track toward the finish line.
Then, just when it seems he might not be able to go on any longer, Redmond’s dad breaks through security to get on the track and puts his arm around his son, who cries on his shoulder as the two finish the race together.
Derek's dream of winning was over, yet he still knew how important it was to finish the race he started. What a great lesson for us all! It's easy to be a great starter. Champions in life are great finishers!
Here’s a clip of this touching moment set to inspirational music by Coldplay.
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John McEnroe is known as one of the best tennis players in history. He won 77 singles titles, 78 doubles titles, and 7 major titles (4 US Open and 3 Wimbledon).
He was not only known as an incredible tennis player. He was infamous for his temper tantrums on the court that often landed him in trouble with umpires and tennis authorities.
In 1984 McEnroe was playing a match in Stockholm, Sweden he argued with an umpire over a call then got so angry with the umpire’s call, he grabbed a tennis ball and hit it into the crowd. Still angry with the umpire, he walked off the court and smashed a chair and table with his tennis racquet.
While McEnroe was one of the best players in history, his temper cost him many matches, titles, and money over the years. Not to mention, he made himself look ridiculous on many occasions.
We all get angry from time to time. We can’t control what happens in the world. We can’t control what other people say or do, however we can control how we respond to it.
Surely, in the moment it is hard. Sometimes the best answer is to walk away, take a few deep breaths and regain your composure.
Black Belt Champions are not perfect however the true mark of true martial arts practitioner is one that can apply the lessons learned on the mat and remember to put them to use off the mat!
We have all said things in a moment of anger that we later regretted. The problem is even after an apology, you can’t take those words back. They are out there and most people won’t forget what was said.
Here’s an idea. Learn to turn frustration into fascination. Instead of being angry and frustrated at what someone says or does, learn to become fascinated at their actions and thought process. Become fascinated by their point of view.
Does it work every time? No! Nothing works all the time; however, it does work a lot of the time and this little trick can save you from saying and doing things you may later regret.
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One of the things that I have always enjoyed about martial arts training is the opportunity to step onto the mats and eliminate the clutter that has managed to take root in my head. During that training time all of the cares of the world fade away and a zen like state is achieved as the mind becomes calm and focused on the training at hand.
How can we apply the principle of Kanso to the rest our lives? Take a good hard look at pruning people, places, processes and things that are cluttering up your path; that are not adding value to your life or helping you to grow.
To help you get started take a moment to think of just one thing that makes you anxious or unhappy. Eliminate it from your life immediately. Just the thought of getting rid of it makes you feel better already right?! Tomorrow you can choose another and repeat the process.
Enjoy your day!
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On one sunny afternoon a man was walking along the beach and saw another man fishing in the surf with a bait bucket beside him. As he drew closer, he saw that the bait bucket had no lid and had live crabs inside.
“Why don't you cover your bait bucket so the crabs won't escape?” he asked. "You don't understand.” the man replied, "If there is one crab in the bucket it would surely crawl out very quickly. However, when there are many crabs in the bucket, if one tries to crawl up the side, the others will grab hold of it and pull it back down so that it will share the same fate as the rest of them."
Can you relate to this story of the crabs in the bucket?
This is very typical human behavior. If someone tries to improve him or herself, dream big or try something new even our close friends and family can become the crabs that want to pull us back down. It’s not always intentional of course but people like to stay in their own little bubble or comfort zone and want to keep you right there with them!
What’s the lesson here?
Ignore the crabs and don’t be a crab! Fire ahead and do what is right for you. If God has blessed you with a great gift or talent, go ahead and with a leap of faith, give birth to your dreams. It may not be easy and you may not succeed 100% of the time, but you will NEVER share the same fate as those who never try.
Though our martial arts program our students learn to go for it! They also learn that in order to grow personally it is imperative that they encourage and build up those around them. Strength truly is in unity.
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Whether you are a new or seasoned student of the martial arts putting the 3 P’s to practice in your daily life is key to turning an interest into a life long practice.
Purpose – a sense of purpose gives a student a much greater level of focus and discipline. As Nietzsche said ” Given a big enough WHY, people can bear almost any how”. Seek your source of inspiration within or with those closest to you. When becoming successful is as important as breathing no one will be able to stand in your way.
Passion– many students tend to use results as motivators. Reaching the next belt rank or winning a medal at a tournament can be your sources of inspiration but not passion. Your love for your craft should be a natural flow of diligent practice. If a student is focused, healthy and disciplined in his or her practice – improvement should be the main drive. Always seek the perfection of your skill, physical attributes and mental capacity and don’t get distracted by results.
Patience– Malcolm Gladwell in his brilliant book ‘The Outliers’ talks about the 10,000 HOUR RULE- One of the main claims of Outliers is that putting in 10,000 hours of practice is a prerequisite for great achievement.
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As a man was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break away from their bonds but for some reason, they did not.
He saw a trainer nearby and asked why these animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away. “Well,” trainer said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them.
As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.”
The man was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.
Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging onto a belief that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once before?
We see this a lot in our martial arts training don’t we. Students that struggle with a particular technique or requirements to advance to the next rank start coming up with reasons why they can’t do it or won’t be able to do it instead of trying to find the solution to overcome the obstacle. “I’m too old, I’m not flexible enough, my work schedule makes it impossible, my child has ADHD and so on and so on.”
If everyone would just understand that the obstacles, the struggle and the failures along the way are actually the necessary ingredients to becoming a black belt champion it would be much easier to accept and even embrace them!
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As Miyomoto Musashi wrote … ‘there is timing in everything’.
Most often, there is stuff we NEED to do before getting to the stuff we really WANT to do. In other words, there is timing and process to almost everything.
The need for immediate gratification is one of the most toxic forces at work in today’s society. In fact, a very powerful study known as the Marshmallow Experiment, indicates very convincingly, that only about twenty percent of us, who have the ability to endure short term inconvenience for long-term gain, are almost guaranteed of living a happy, joyful and financially successful life.
It is no different in martial arts training; those willing to endure the hard-yards, in lieu of fast-tracking their way through the ranks, are almost certain to place real value/worth on their Black Belt when they finally do earn/become it.
There is 'timing' in everything - there is also a ‘time’ for everything. Enjoy the process!
Please share with your friends, family and associates. You can bet this message will be just what they needed to hear today.
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THE BUSINESS MAN AND THE BEGGAR
One day, there was a New York businessman who was running late for work. As he rushed to catch the train, he noticed a homeless man selling pencils at a table. In his frenzy, he dropped a dollar into the cup and hurriedly stepped aboard the subway train.
On the second thought, he stepped back off the train, walked over to the homeless man and took several pencils from the cup. Apologetically, he explained that in his haste he had neglected to pick up his pencils, and he hoped the man wouldn’t be upset with him. “After all,” he said. “You are a business man just like myself. You have merchandise to sell, and it’s fairly priced.” He then caught the next train.
At a social convention a few months later, a neatly dressed salesman stepped up to the businessman an introduced himself. “You probably don’t remember me, and I don’t know your name but I will never forget you. You are the man who gave me back my self-respect. I was a ‘beggar’ selling pencils until you came along and told me I was a business person.”
What a great story right! But what does this have to do with martial arts? In my experience I have literally seen the martial arts change lives and have even seen it save lives! Learning how to fight or defend oneself is only one part of our martial arts practice. What makes someone a truly great martial artist is when they demonstrate the principles of black belt in their daily lives; modesty, courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit. I’m not sure if the businessman was a martial artist or not but let’s all follow his lead and make the effort to build each other up. That’s living the black belt lifestyle!
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This month our student “mat chats” are focused on modesty. Here is a story we are going to be sharing with them. We hope you enjoy it as well!
There once was a martial arts master who had a student that was very difficult to teach. The student just seemed to know it all! No matter what the master taught, the student always seemed to either have a better way or to know why the master’s way wouldn’t work.
Finally, out of frustration, the master made one last attempt to teach the student a valuable lesson. He invited the student in for some tea. As the master poured his tea, he only poured the cup half full, but when the master poured the student’s tea, he poured until the cup was overflowing.
Surprised at what the student saw, he exclaimed “Stop pouring, the cup is full!” The master replied, “Your mind is much like this cup. It’s overflowing with your own thoughts and ideas. There is no room left to learn.”
This is another great example of why it is so important to develop the attitude of modesty. Can you imagine how hard it is to teach someone who thinks he/she knows it all?
When someone thinks that they knows it all, they stop listening which means they stop learning, and when they stop learning, they stop growing. People whose cups are full are no longer teachable.
No matter how much you know or how good you are at something, always remain humble enough to listen to the thoughts and ideas of others; you never know, even one good idea from someone else just might take your own skills from good to great!
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This month our student “mat chats” focus on the principles of black belt. First up is MODESTY. One of the best ways to develop modesty is to remember that you never get anywhere or achieve anything by yourself. The skill and the confidence that you develop as a martial artist is the result of not only your hard work, but the ongoing support of your instructors and fellow teammates. Similarly, good grades are not achieved without the help of supportive parents and teachers and success in the workplace is only achieved with help and guidance of a mentor that has invested time and energy into developing your skills. To put modesty into practice simply say “thank you” when someone praises you for your performance but be sure to acknowledge the people in your life that helped you get there.
Have you ever thought about trying martial arts as a great way to get fit and learn a valuable skill? Learn more about us please visit our website at www.karatewestinc.com.