This is one of the cardinal rules of any dojo, but it will apply anywhere you go, with anything you try. By leaving your pride aside you will open your mind to learning instead, you'll be surprised at how much farther it takes you and by how much you will start to appreciate those around you .
Winning a sparring match in the Dojo or a major tournament is a thrilling feeling, but when we are defeated, it only shows us what we need to work on. If we take the positives away from the experience we will only ever get better. This is a great attitude to have, in everyday life also.
Of course everyone wants their black belt, but in the end, it's just a piece of fabric that holds your Gi together. The literal blood, sweat, and tears that are shed along the way are far more valuable. The years of work that are put into learning your art are ultimately what you remember. Take each day as it comes and focus on the little goals, the grand achievements will come with time and experience.
It's the calm, smart, technical fighter who almost always comes out on top. When we take a moment to breathe and analyze the struggle we're facing instead of going all in without a second thought, the outcome is much more likely to work out in our favour. Again, this works well outside of the Dojo too.
Once you earn a few bruises from someone you'd never have expected to dish out such a whoopin', you'll make sure to get to know someone before passing judgment. Respect is highly regarded in the martial arts industry, it is looked down upon if a student was to ever disrespect a fellow opponent, teacher, or even a rival team, for what ever reason it may come down too.
Your face will be red. Your hair will be a mess. There will be snot and sweat. And you will not care one little bit. Few things teach you that your abilities are more important than your appearance than when you're at risk of being kicked in the face. At the end of the day, the feeling of overcoming what you never thought you could will always be better than looking 'hot.'
Your body will love you for eating the right food, stretching, exercising smart and for taking rest days. Your body is a temple and you should treat it as such. After all, it's the only one you've got.
Sometimes, your training partner's fist will find your face when sparring and of course you give as good right back. You'll tell them "good fight sir" and you'll both continue onto the next fight. All of your relationships become easier when you remember that we're all in life for the same reasons.
Our culture likes to make people believe that being a follower is a bad thing, but there is no shame in listening to and learning from those who have more experience than you. There will always be a technique that you don't completely understand, and it's ok to let someone else teach it to the new guy instead. Being a good student is just as important as being a good teacher, no matter what you do.
Just as your skills were shaped by great teachers, there will come a time when you need to be the guiding light for someone else. It might just be a one-time correction on another student's form, or you might be a continuous role model for someone who wants to learn to fight just like you. When the opportunity to lead comes your way, embrace it and treat it like the honor that it is.
No matter how careful you are, nobody comes out of martial arts without having suffered a bunch of minor injuries (and maybe a couple of major ones). But anything worth having is also worth suffering for and the taste of victory either on or off the mat outweighs the pain of all of the kicks, punches, and chokes that it took to get there. Just as the Japanese proverb says, "Fall down seven times, stand up eight."
If you keep your mouth shut and let your abilities speak for you, people are going to be way more impressed than if you proudly proclaim how awesome you are, something you learn pretty quick in martial arts.
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