Now, we all know that eating a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables is one of the keys to a higher quality of life. Everyone also seems to know that physical activity of at least 30 minutes a day will make them feel better, seem less tired, and help with their concentration. I can go on to say that every body who drinks, smokes, and raids the coffee machine 10 times daily all pretty much know the same things and have access to the same information regarding their health.
Why is it then that more people are not living like champions? 'Cause it is pretty darn hard! Between work, school, taking care of the kids, homework, mowing the lawn, and getting the kids to violin practice, We are lucky to be able to drop by the local fast-food franchise for a quick supper. Do not even mention exercise! I am too tired to exercise!! And so the daily grind starts over and over for you each day and finishes about the same-with a sense of unfulfillment. This is how people get into this so called "rut" they talk about. What's worse? Our children absorb every thing we say and do and are forming bad habits as I speak.
I see how fit someone looks when they have been eating well, hitting the gym, and staying away from all those nasty vices. Why then do I still struggle with my sweet tooth, the motivation to train, and why do some people still smoke 6 packs of cigarettes a day. It is a matter of will-power and self-discipline-all qualities and traits that we are developing as martial artists and teachers.
We have all heard our friends and relatives who we constantly are trying to bring to the gym, quit smoking, and to eat better say that they could quit any time. They could eat better if they wanted to. Maybe tomorrow. Some people just do not want to change. AND that's ok.
I am speaking to those who wish to take control of their lives and really live like the champions that they know they can be.
Shifting gears a little bit, I am going to speak solely as the passionate, forward-thinking martial artist that I am and let you in on what ideas I have been kicking around lately. One of my mentors by the name of Tom Callos wrote recently that "There are 1825 days in 5 years." He goes on to say that "You sit down to at least 5475 meals in those 5 years." He was speaking in regards to the way martial artists should look at their black belt test, and that "The very next meal you eat is an opportunity to practice the art of living as a martial artist." Think about that a moment. If we treated every meal we eat like a black belt test, would we be eating the same food, and if we treated every interaction with our mom, dad, or spouse like it was part of our black belt test, would we treat them differently than before.
This is not the "new way" to approach your martial arts training for your black belt or your next black belt test. It really is the "old way". In this day and age, we demand the latest technology, and we think that if something is old, it is out of date. However, I am working alongside some very inspiring and committed individuals to change back some of the things that the martial arts industry has done to the "black belt" concept-the very ,meaning of having a black belt and being a black belt. It seems that the black belt has lost its value due to the sales-driven strategies of some instructors. Anyone who knows our school and the way it operates, we do not think about sales first, but only as a necessity of earning a living. Anyways back to my original topic on there being 1825 days in 5 years.
I want for all of you to commit to living like champions. I am raising a challenge to you! Use everyday as your black belt test. Use every meal as your black belt test. Use every conversation as your black belt test. And let's make the black belt mean 1.) more than just physical skill (you must have extraordinary physical skills by the way) 2.) a student that is committed to changing the world (You must transform yourself before you change the world!) 3.) a person who does not only think about herself, but who thinks about what they can do to help others.