Life Lessons Learned in the Dojo
As I have stated over and over I have all the respect in the world for the martial arts, and those who teach, study, and practice them.
I recently came across an interesting post on a website about the lessons that martial arts teach us, and as I thought back to my childhood and the great experiences I had growing up in the Dojo.
But just to sum up some of the life lessons learned in Martial Arts training.
1- You must never stop learning, life is about evolving and adapting.
Bruce Lee, the legendary martial artist once said, “Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – like water. Now you put water into a cup; it becomes the cup; you put water into a bottle; it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
Be able to adapt to any situation in life is a great skill to master. So, “Be Water”
2- Even learning the small things today, makes us better for tomorrow.
The study of the martial arts instills in us that continuous self-improvement is the key to making ourselves better than we were yesterday. If we were to learn even one thing a day consider how much better off we would be a year from now, five years from now, or even ten years from now. “Keep Learning”
3- Anything is possible.
Deep within us, we all have the ability to do anything that we truly set our minds to. Whether it is to become the next World Champion Tennis player or Mixed Martial Artist or simply lose 10 or 20 pounds, Each one of us has something that we desperately want to achieve.
4- No Risk… No Reward
If we are not willing to put ourselves out there, if we are not willing to step onto the mat of life, we will never accomplish the greatness that is within us. You have to take some chances in life, and you won’t always win or come out victorious, but the matches I lost were just as important in my development as a fighter like the ones I won.
5- Never put off till tomorrow, what should be done today.
A great life lesson in self-discipline. So many people suffer from the procrastination habit. “Oh, I’ll do it tomorrow.” becomes “I’ll do it next week.” and so on. If there is something that needs to be done why not just do it? Save the excuses.
Courage and Confidence walk hand in hand. Knowing that you can overcome any obstacle that life throws in your path is key to all future successes and endeavors. Face your challenges with courage knowing that you can and that you will succeed.
7- Mental strength vs. adversity
In martial arts training, we learn that our biggest opponent is the opponent of our own mind. I remember when I was a kid training and my Sensei once told me when I was dealing with an issue that was affecting me on the mat, He told me “that in order to be a great warrior that I first must learn to defeat the demons within myself, it was that that would define me as a fighter and as a human being.” We need to learn to silence our harshest critic, which is often yourself.
8- Focus, Focus, Focus
I often lecture my students on the need for living their lives with laser-like focus. It doesn’t matter what they are studying or attempting to accomplish if they pursue that desire with almost reckless abandon and determination that success is inevitable.
9- Love whatever it is that you do.
It does not matter what you do in your life, do it with passion and determination. It doesn’t matter whether you are a CEO of a major corporation or a janitor, you are important, and act accordingly. Do whatever it is that you do, do it to the best of your ability. And most important be proud of the job you have done.
10- You are the sum total of those who you surround yourself with.
Jim Rohn once said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. The more I think about that the truer I find it to be in life. If you hang around with people who will constantly push and challenge you to exceed your own preconceived limitations then you will excel. If you hang around with the crowd that only wants to hang out and drink on Friday and Saturday nights then what do you do? Well, you drink on Friday and Saturday nights.