This week is Gradings and Curriculum practice. Get on the mat and get your next promotion!
Measuring Your Progress
So how do you maintain a high level of training and stay so passionate about the art? It can’t be based on mere accomplishment. Progress must be measured by more than just rank or how well you perform in class. You need to take an honest look at yourself. Are you are healthier and stronger, do you have less stress and feel more confident to make the hard decisions in your life?
Real martial arts changes you, changes the way you deal with all aspects of your life. The hours spent in gruelling classes do more than teach you how to fight – they strengthen your will. Living through the bumps and bruises of practice helps teach you that you will live through the bumps and bruises of life. You learn that you don’t have to quit something just because it is hard. You learn that, with patience, perseverance and hard work, anything is possible. The hours in meditation teach you to stay calm and centred in the drama of your day-to-day life. Finally, there is an overwhelming conviction that stems from accomplishing something that you never thought you could, that allows you to say “I can.” “I can do anything that I set my mind to do.” No, you’re not a superhero, you can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound, nor are you an emotionless drone that is steeled against the world and unaffected by problems. Martial artists are still just people; Moms and dads, employees and employers, sons and daughters and neighbours and students. The difference is that martial artists know how to focus their energy, and they possess a calm strength that comes from knowing that anything is possible with sufficient strength of will.
Since we all have different backgrounds and different levels of fitness; since some of us are athletic and others uncoordinated and some are flexible while most are stiff; since some concentrate intensely while others minds drift; since some practice hard and come regular, while others struggle with attendance; since there are so many differences between us – it is ridiculous to compare yourself to anyone else, and to do so will only enhance your ego or jeopardize your practice.
Sensei Matt Thurman, Shudokan Black Belt Academy – Aikido Nottingham