Do Not Limit Yourself
As each of us face the various challenges that life puts in front of us, most Shoshin Ryu practitioners will rise to the occasion! Accept the challenge and work our way through it – sometimes by education, a new strategy, sheer will or by working around the problem. There are many approaches and each has its place. Use what is appropriate for the task at hand.
Of course many people fear failure, other fear success, and others are just not sure what to do. The most potent challenges are often the ones we create for ourselves. Negative thoughts and self-imposed limits poison our potential to succeed and to achieve our goals. The “I cannot” always becomes “I never did” if left unchecked. Think on that when your self-talk says “I can’t.” Think what it means for your future. How much joy will you miss out on? To become what we are capable of being, we must continuously free ourselves from our self-imposed limits of negative thought.
Japanese martial arts teach us to be bold and courageous! Not timid, not tentative. The Shoshin Ryu practitioner is about having a “can do” attitude, about accepting life’s challenges and seeing them for what they are…opportunities!
The power of your thoughts should never be taken lightly. While some think it mystical, it is really just cause and effect. Our lives are shaped by our actions and our actions are shaped by our thoughts. What we think about manifests itself in our lives. We are what we think and do! So take a bold stand – live and make good things happen in your life. This is not to say that if you sit around thinking “positive thoughts” that everything will come to you – sorry but you have to work for it, earn it, put the effort in. The stylish statement “like attracts like” as a universal truth misses the mark. Think about it – do electrons attract other electrons? NO. Does the positive end of the magnet attract another positive end of another magnet? NO. It seems that in much of the universe – opposites attract.
More likely it will be that you have to think you can, then put the effort into achieving your goal, then refining it a time or two or twenty – until you get the results you want.
So learn how to learn! This means believing you can. If you think you can’t do a technique or you think this is a very hard technique – then you will likely be right. If on the other hand you think you can do the technique, you can pass the test (you have trained daily for the past 5 months), you can achieve your goal – then most likely you will. Positive thoughts will lead to positive results.
Think what it is you want. Some folks think about what they don’t want to happen – I don’t want to fail this test – this likely gets you nowhere but failure. Your subconscious brain doesn’t understand the negative. Thus “I won’t eat cookies this week” is heard by the brain as “Eat cookies this week”. And from practical experience you likely know this to be true. So learning how to phrase what you want is a good first step to get there. Many well-meaning folks say “That is day dreaming” or “That’s unrealistic” or “You are setting yourself up for failure”. They don’t want to see anyone hurt or disappointed. They most likely live their lives the same way – tentative, going through life fearing to be disappointed. But as William Wallace, the Scottish hero of Braveheart once said “All men die. Few ever really live”. Think on this.
“99% of all failures come from people who have
a habit of making excuses”
George Washington Carver
There are no good excuses. If you want something you have to go get it. Consider for a moment – a shodan, first degree blackbelt (really just a beginning student in Shoshin Ryu) an achievement which nearly everyone can do. It is, on the other hand, something most folks won’t achieve. It is not the norm – the average student who starts martial arts doesn’t make shodan. The number is around 3%. Three percent of all people who start a martial arts class make it to shodan. So making shodan is not normal. So understand that 97% of the people who give you their “advice”, their “excuse”, their reason you shouldn’t try to make shodan – doesn’t matter. They are the average person and to be a shodan is not average or normal. So let go of all the excuses.
Similarly, yudansha often start to think they can’t. They sit at a rank for a while, perhaps work a lot and train only sporadically. They think back what they could do and feel sorry for themselves – they make excuses “I am getting too old”. Most likely it is not age, but the fact that they are out of shape and haven’t trained much the past 5 or 10 years! Know the difference. You can come back, it just takes time, the motion is still in you! Use it or lose it comes to mind. The real key here is to never get yourself into that situation in the first place! Be healthy, train regularly – it will help you live longer and enjoy life more!
Mifune Kyuzo Sensei was only 5’3” tall. He was short for a Judo player yet became 10th dan and perhaps the finest Judoka of all time. At age 40 and weighing 100 lbs he defeated a 240 lb sumo wrestler slamming him into the ground with kukinage.
Paul Owen started judo at age 40 and became a 4th dan – he is still teaching at 91 yo.
Chotoku Kyan is one of the strongest Shuri-Te stylists of Okinawan Karate. He was born small, weak – had asthma and poor eye sight. He had a friendly match with a big strong 6th dan judo player. Kyan Sensei hooked his thumb into the judoka’s mouth and yanked him to the ground then used a tetsui to the head to end the match with a knockout.
The thing to remember is that we all have challenges. We each must face our challenges and overcome our limitations. You can do it. So forget the excuses and figure out a way to make it happen. Perhaps even ask Sensei for some direction. So take one step at a time and master the things you want to achieve! Focus on what you want to occur and make it so. Believe in yourself and put the effort in to achieving that goal. Be positive in what you want and know you can do it – then go for it!