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Offered by: Willy Strohmeier – Colorado Karate Club

I love the Brighton’s Trash Bash. After more than 20 years living here, I’ve accumulated so much junk, sometimes it is a joy to throw some old stuff out. As I rummaged through boxes of stuff, I picked up this heavy shoe box that clinked and clanked as I lifted it. When I opened it I found a large number of Karate medals I had hoarded over my years of competition.

To my surprise though, when I looked at them, there was no excitement, joy, or even pride. To me, at that moment, they were just a bunch of meaningless ribbons and metal. So, without a second thought, off they went to the dump – Thank you City of Brighton!

Afterward, I thought it funny how those awards mean so little to me now, even though I had spent so many years training, competing, traveling, and fighting for them. However, it all made perfect sense to me as I recalled that after retiring from competition in 2012, I shared the following thoughts on a social media post:

“As a Karate-ka, why do I train?
I don’t train to make someone else happy,
or to live up to expectations;
I don’t do it to be better than someone else,
And I don’t train for a medal, trophy, or recognition…
In the aftermath of it all, I train for myself!
I train because it makes me happy.
I train to be better than I was yesterday
(Even if my body does not perform as well as it used to),
And I train to satisfy that hunger that burns within me,
To be the best that this human nature, that God gave me,
will allow me to be.”

I realize that my quest was never for first place, but for excellence in what I did and still do. And today, I aim to continue that tradition within myself and our students.

But it is not only about the Martial Arts. Whether you exercise, study, earn a degree, a promotion, or a raise… Where do you find your reward? Is it on the external prize? The numbers on the scale, the grade, the diploma, the new job title, or the extra money? Or is it something that changes you for the better? That gets you closer to fulfilling your full human potential?

In the words of Johan Wolfgang Von Goethe: “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” May you become the amazing individual you were meant to be.

Willy Strohmeier – Sensei
Colorado Karate Club

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Colorado Karate Club