Our blind spots

[Please note that this post includes some explicit language.] My Thai boxing instructor told me that when he recently went back home for the holidays, he trained at a friend’s dojo. After working out, his friend said that one of their former classmates had gone to Japan to train. And my teacher said, “I really dislike that … [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…]

how to recognize a trailblazer

Recently I got a message on Facebook from someone I’ve known from Jiu-Jitsu for decades. The message said, “Hey, I don’t know if you remember me but you had said a couple of things to me years ago that I never forgot. I’m going through a crisis now and I need some help.” And I said sure, give me a call. So … [Read more…]

martial arts paradigm shift

In ’94, when I was competing for a spot on the Pan-American Olympic karate team, I was going against the heavyweight national champion from the rival organization. During a heated match, he fell and broke his neck and is to this day paralyzed for life. That event totally spun me around. It was what Stephen Covey calls a “paradigm shift” – a moment when … [Read more…]

Chop wood and carry water

There’s an old Zen saying that the way to enlightenment is to chop wood and carry water. In other words, there’s no secret or magic to it – it’s just hard work in the service of others. Do you know what you do once you become enlightened? You chop wood and you carry water. That’s … [Read more…]

Our essential humanity

I had dinner on Saturday night with someone who trains Jiu-Jitsu very seriously at another school in this area. Or rather, he said he had been training. I asked, “Why aren’t you training now?” And he said “I can’t – I tore my A.C.L.” In class, I asked? “No,” he said, “not in class.” He continued.”I was … [Read more…]

the fear of falling

Studies have shown that two of the major fears modern people share are the fear of public speaking and the fear of falling. There are a few others on the list, like fear of heights and fear of death, but there’s something that’s really hardwired into us when it comes to either getting up in … [Read more…]

roots of practice

It’s no secret that we’ve been working very diligently to change the perception of Jiu-Jitsu for the practitioner. We’re beginning at home, as it should be, with all the students in our schools. The goal is for practitioners to see themselves not just as Jiu-Jitsu athletes playing a sport, but as participants in the physical, … [Read more…]