Achieving Impossible Goals with the Martial Arts

One of the most awesome things about running a Jeet Kune Do center is helping people achieve things they never believed were possible.  We have a group of students in our adult self-defense classes near Odenton, MD who have been with us for about the past six months moving toward taking their first test in our JKD Unlimited curriculum program.  Six months ago, none of them would have been able to, for reasons individual to each of them.

 

Some were out of shape and would not be able to last through the rounds of testing.  Others were in shape but were unable to perform the necessary skills smoothly under pressure.  Others hadn’t developed the mental temerity to be able to stand in front of someone else in a sparring situation.  Six months later, each of them has gone on a journey that has at the end, has helped them expand their individual capacity and capability to be able to do what they once were not able to.

 

That is a lesson in itself and what we mean when we say Jeet Kune Do isn’t just about learning fighting skills but developing a way of life focused on will power, self-control, and enlightened intuition.  A way of life isn’t a one time achievement, it is the path you follow each moment of each day.

 

It is debatable what work of art Italian Renaissance architect, painter, poet, and sculptor Michaelangelo is best known for.  That’s how great his achievements were!  The Pieta, David, the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel, all of them are considered some of the greatest works of art in all of human existence.

 

He once said, “The greater danger for most of us lies not setting our aim to high & falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”

 

He certainly lived his life by that creed, but it is doubtful that he would have been able to achieve the heights he reached without the benefit of the mentors he studied with and time and effort he put in to perfecting his craft.  He became an apprentice of master painter Ghirlandaio in 1488.  He studied at the de Medici Humanist Academy in 1490.  He didn’t carve the Pieta until 1497, the David was completed in 1504, and the Sistine Chapel wasn’t completed until 1512.

 

So we aim high to achieve great things, but each day, we take small steps to get there.  The person we are today may not be capable of achieving our objective, so instead of giving up, we invest in expanding our capacity.

 

The students preparing for their first test have done that.  Each and every session at Maryland Jeet Kune Do, they showed up and did the work necessary.  For one, he had to spend time learning how to pivot his body to throw a proper left cross.

 

For another, he had to develop the core strength and stamina to be able to survive rounds of jiujitsu playing open guard.  The common thing for both of them was the daily work, making steady success, one thing at a time, instead of trying to do everything at once.  Their capacity is expanding, so that when great challenges and achievements come, they will be ready.

 

I am not naturally a calm and focused person.  My mind is like that dog from the film “Up”…SQUIRREL!  Whenever I hear someone say, “I can’t meditate.  I would just go crazy sitting there” I get it, because I am that person.  Each day, I sit, because I know that the days I don’t practice jwaseon, I am not going to be the man I would be if I did.

 

If I had met my wife ten years ago, I doubt our relationship would have gotten off the ground, if she would have actually given the man I was then a chance.  Yet over the course of those ten years, I went through trials and a few self-inflicted tribulations that forced me to look myself in the mirror and realize I had to become more than the man I was.  Each day now, I get up knowing that today, I will work to become even more than the man I am now to gain the capacity to build the future of our relationship together and the family we are creating.

 

If you walked into Maryland Jeet Kune Do ten years ago, you would have met a few guys and gals training together in a Buddhist temple.  It wasn’t a public school, just a small training group, invitation only.  Each step along the way, we grew.  When my day job laid me off, I knew it was time once again to expand my capacity to take on this new challenge, and now, here we are today, still growing.

 

To achieve great things, aim high, and then find the first small thing you need to do today to begin to become the person who can meet your goal.

 

Where in your life are failing at achieving the great things you know you can, and what can you do today to change that?



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