A Challenge Greater than Black Belt

We’ve been speaking in the classes this week about the black belt principle of “being a good-finder.” When I first heard the expression, I thought it was corny until I pondered it further and then saw its potency. Being a good-finder means that you find the good in everything, everyone, and every situation. Seem extreme and completely impractical?  Well, … [Read more…]

Favoritism: Why It’s Not What You Think

I recently had a conversation with a former schoolteacher. She told me that she believed that one of the hallmarks of being a good teacher was that students should never feel that a teacher is playing favorites. I agreed. She then went on to say that even though a teacher may have favorites, the students shouldn’t realize … [Read more…]

How Martial Artists Handle Fear

Yesterday, I had a very interesting conversation with my mentor. She told me a story about how one of her family members, who is in the medical field, was required to take a fire safety class. The fire marshal who was running the class asked the attendees whether they knew what the number one cause … [Read more…]

Patience

In a recent conversation, my mentor talked to me about the quality of patience. She explained how patience promotes much progress in all areas of our lives, if we allow patience the opportunity to do so. I started thinking about how, if I applied this idea not only to my personal life but also to … [Read more…]

Why Jigoro Kano Wants You To Be a “Good Citizen”

Growing up in the martial arts during the 1980s, one of the primary tenets of practice was something they called “good citizenship”. The concept dates back to at least the 1800s, to Mr. Jigoro Kano‘s belief that a practitioner needed to be a useful citizen to society. But today it sounds very outdated, even antiquated.  Even though I was surrounded by the … [Read more…]

One (Very Unexpected) Tool For Better Living

There’s something called the “uchi deshi” in Japanese martial arts. This is the live-in student, the one that takes care of the dojo. And at an early point in my martial arts training, I became the uchi deshi at Mr. Miyazaki‘s dojo. I would clean and straighten up around the dojo, making sure it was ready for classes and to receive … [Read more…]

The Power of Setting Limits

I remember that when Jiu-Jitsu first became popular in the U.S., it seemed like “traditional martial arts” became yesterday’s news. I was the worst offender. I left my traditional training behind because I thought that the lessons were antiquated and irrelevant. I thought there was so much freedom in not having to be bound by … [Read more…]