Beyond Win and Lose

What’s the alternative? Revisiting an old martial arts maxim provides a clue. There is a meme I see from time to time on Facebook that always makes me cringe. It goes something like this: “Beware of the person who is not smiling when you’re winning.” It’s as if to say that this person is your enemy, a snake … [Read more…]

How to Live and How to Die

Martial arts, as traditionally taught, has always been about life and death. For millennia it has presented the practitioner with a way to live better – as well as how to die better. In our context, “life” is to survive and then to succeed. “Death” is to live a memorable, fulfilling life with principle, and … [Read more…]

Peeing On The Bed

I’ve actually never told anybody this story because I’m not so proud of it. But I believe there’s a lesson in here for those of us who do Jiu-Jitsu and strive for a better practice. Growing up I was very, very poor. There were times when there wasn’t a lot of food – that kind of poor. And … [Read more…]

The things that matter most

In the 1980s, when I was doing karate, our running joke was that Americans would do karate and then all of a sudden, they’d have a Japanese accent.  We laughed at them – they’d been practicing for five months and suddenly they acted like they were Japanese. Then in the 1990s, I noticed the same phenomenon … [Read more…]

What your words say about you

Growing up, one of my mother’s mantras was “think before you speak”. She would drill it repeatedly into my head. And if she had to say, it was usually too late for me. For those of you that didn’t grow up in the south in the ‘70s, the switch was the primary mode of discipline. It … [Read more…]

A memorable life, part two

In last week’s post, we were discussing what it means to live a memorable life. We wanted to take a longer view of this topic of “resolutions”, since around this time of year we start adjusting our plans for the future, considering what we want to improve and change. Such a project, living a memorable life, leads us … [Read more…]

A memorable life (part one)

In the classroom we discussed a Bruce Lee quote that I paraphrased like this: if you want to have a memorable life, if you want people to remember you, you have to live a life worth remembering.  That notion leads us into the new year, where traditionally people set goals and re-evaluate their habits. Over the upcoming … [Read more…]

Success through failure

Wednesday mornings is the day that I do kung fu with Sifu Vizzio. Yesterday we were working on a six-punch combination and a four-kick combination. And he was asking me every time I threw the cross to duck under his cross and come back with a hook. But every time he threw the cross, I … [Read more…]