Celebrating Martial Arts Milestones

It’s important to live your life on purpose. Not to go through life letting everything happen without taking an active interest, but to have intentions for yourself so you keep developing as a person. When you achieve goals, it’s important to pay homage to them and celebrate the sense of accomplishment it brings.

I am celebrating a big milestone this week myself. I finished all the content for my book/DVD for Tuttle publishing and sent it off earlier this week. I officially started working on this book contract in February this year, developing a few chapters each month, doing hours of writing, photo shoots, etc. Then this past month most of my daytime hours were spent shooting video for the DVD then working with my editor to put it altogether coherently (HUGE thanks to Chris Olson for all his hard work too!). It was very satisfying to put it in the mail and complete the first stage of this massive project.

This year I’ve reached a couple of other milestones other than this. My dojo hit its 5-year anniversary back in January. I also earned the rank of sankyu in Shorinji Kan Jiu-jitsu the other week. With all this accomplished, I decided to do something a little special to celebrate. I got a tattoo of my dojo logo, my own unique design that I created for my dojo back when I first started it. It’s still healing having only gotten this done less than a week ago, but you can see it here on the left.
You don’t have to go so far as to get a tattoo to celebrate a milestone though. You can reward yourself in many ways, like going out for dinner with friends to share in the celebration, you can buy something special, anything as long as it feels good. I think this is an important practice so you don’t just get caught up in the constant cycle of making and achieving goals without ever taking the time to appreciate what they represent.
Over to you: what do you do to celebrate your milestones?
Comments (8)

8 thoughts on “Celebrating Martial Arts Milestones

  1. Lori,

    Have you ever done a post outlining the differences between Can-Ryu and Shorinji Kan? I'm especially curious what a Sensei in one style would feel was missing that required her to become a student all over again in another style.

    I wish I knew more about the history of my Jiu-Jitsu school here in Winnipeg. I know the school itself is named after the Sensei's Buddhist name (Minh-Duc), but I have no idea what "style" it is. I'm going to have to corner my Sensei after class sometime and see what I can get out of him.

  2. Congratulations on the new belt and your other achievements: it's always good to see good people achieve their goals and take pride in what they do. It is important to savour one's victories and achievements, although I wouldn't necessarily burn a part of my body to commemorate it 😉 It does make you look tough though and it slightly offsets the cute light blue belt you wore in that picture.

    Reading this post makes me want to take up training for my shodan again: I took a rather lengthy break as a result of a lack of time and a lack of proper training partners but we'll see what we can do about it. I've gone over the curriculum and most of it I could probably do in my sleep, I do need to work on endurance though and I sorely need more sparring practice. Perhaps I'd be a good idea to take up thaiboxing for a while since they have sparring sessions every wednesday night. How did your training schedule look for you shodan exam? If you can think back that far of course 😉

    What exactly is going to be in this book and DVD?


  3. Heather: Thanks for the congrats!

    Brr: The difference between Can-ryu and Shorinji Kan in a nutshell is that Can-ryu focuses on easy-to-learn self-defense techniques at the earliest stages of learning while Shorinji Kan teaches techniques involving more fine motor skills right from the start. Overall, Can-ryu is spends more time developing strikes as a primary tool for self-defense amongst other skills while Shorinji Kan puts more focus on throwing.

    It's not so much that I felt Can-ryu was "missing" anything per se, I just feel that continual development is important as a martial artist and it's easier to focus on your own learning when you're in an environment in which you're a student rather than an instructor. Hope this makes sense!

    Zara: Thanks for the congrats! I understand how difficult it is to ramp up for a grading when you don't many qualified ukes to work with. When I was prepping for Shodan, I trained no less than 3 times a week for 2-3 hours. I also did running and weight training. When I wasn't working out, I spent a lot of time visualizing all the techniques I needed to know as well. As for my book/DVD, it's meant to be a comprehensive book about defending yourself from the ground (street-oriented not competition-oriented).

  4. That does make sense. Sounds like our style is similar to Shorinji Kan. Strikes are mainly used to set up throws, rather than to inflict a lot of damage on their own. We drilled Kote Gaeshi from a punch attack for 2 hours on my first day!

    I can't wait to get your new book & DVD. Have you got a title or release date yet?

  5. Brrr: Our strikes are used as set-ups for throws/takedowns too, but we just spend more time developing the striking skills in Can-ryu than we do in Shorinji Kan. For example, we spend more time practising strikes on training pads to develop their effectiveness. In fact, most of our strikes are not intended to cause serious damage, rather they are intended to immobilize without causing injury.

    As for my book/DVD, it is supposed to be released in Sept 2012. The tentative title is "When the Fight Goes to the Ground: Jiu-jitsu Strategies & Tactics for Self-Defense."

  6. It's interesting that it's not kosher to aspire to a black belt in most dojos. I'm sure we would all celebrate that achievement; I'm equally sure most have that as at least a pipe-dream when they start out training…….

  7. There's nothing wrong with making black belt a goal, it just shouldn't be an end goal. A lot of people stop training after they get it, but really that's when the real learning begins!

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