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Offered by Willy Strohmeier – Colorado Karate Club

It feels like slow motion, that moment, when I’m throwing this long, high round kick and realize – too late – that I went just a bit too far… My base foot loses traction and there I go, flying first, then plopping onto the ground with a loud thud. The whole class stops and everyone is looking at me, some ask if I’m OK, while others quietly (or not so quietly) laugh at my mishap. I dust myself off get up and resume my training with just a bruised ego (and maybe a bruised bum too).

While it’s been awhile since I’ve hit the ground like that, there’s been many of them. Anyone who has trained in martial arts for some time has done something of this sort, when you fall short of how you pictured it in your mind and think: “Hey, that didn’t go quite as I had planned.” But that’s OK, that’s just part of the training process, get up and try again more intelligently.

Once in a while a Karate student follows my steps and hits the ground just as ungracefully as I did at their age; and while I do not want anyone falling down, I do make a point to praise that person for trying and pushing him or herself beyond their comfort zone. I know that the student getting up from the ground is not being held back by a fear of failure or ridicule, and will progress much faster than most. With that in mind, I mentioned to our students in class that they must be like the rubber band, which is only useful when it is stretched, even though doing so places some stress on it. For us too, it is almost always unsettling to go (or be pulled) out of our comfort zone, but that’s how we grow, that’s how we progress, and achieve new and higher goals. This is a process that must be continuously repeated as we move forward.

Of course this is true in every aspect of our lives, doing something new and different requires courage. Whether or not you are a martial artist, ask yourself if there is something within you holding you back from doing better than you have, from achieving your dreams. What are the things you would like to accomplish? If you had all the resources at your disposal like time, money, and knowledge. If you were guaranteed success, where could you be in 3, 5, or 10 years? Because if you want it badly enough, nothing will stop you. Obviously not everything goes always as planned along the way, but as long as you get back up and keep going, failure is just an event, not a person.

It is because of those falls (or in spite of them), that I can say that there were innumerable more times when things went just as I had planned or better. So set your goals, be courageous, work hard, and be resilient. That’s what I wish for you.

Willy Strohmeier – Sensei

Colorado Karate Club

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Colorado Karate Club