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.
Have you ever thought about trying martial arts as a great way to get fit and learn a valuable skill? Visit us at www.chrisgates.com.
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!
To learn more about us please visit us at www.chrisgates.com.
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!
To learn more about us please visit us at www.chrisgates.com.
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.chrisgates.com.