Hello! Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve written, and the last things I wrote about were weekly blog posts related to a “personal project,” which basically amounted to a resolution I made last year to learn a new Jiu-jitsu technique every week for a year. I managed to do about 12 weeks worth of techniques and related blog posts and then life got crazy. I started getting more stunt work. I performed in and produced a short film (there’s a shot of me working on it below. As a result, my training focus shifted. I’m okay with this. Here’s why.
The whole point in making resolutions or setting goals is to give yourself focal points for your personal progress. Sometimes those focal points are perfectly set and you move from A to B smoothly on a charted course. Other times your needs change so you have to shift your focal points to other things to reflect those needs. Just because you have to change course doesn’t mean you’re abandoning the journey. And who’s to say what journey you should be on anyway? You get to choose your journey so if you want to make unscheduled detours or even completely different direction changes, it’s up to you. As long as you don’t abandon your personal journey and keep progressing in your mind, body and spirit, you’re making something of your life. (more…)
Over a lifetime, we learn a lot of different skills, some are practical, like typing, cooking, and car maintenance, ones that we expect to use on an ongoing basis throughout our lives. Others are ones that we simply enjoy with minimal “practical” value beyond the way they make us feel, like visual arts, performance arts, or various sports like golf or tennis.
Whatever the skill, we only have so much time to dedicate to our various pursuits. As such, we sometimes settle for what we consider an “acceptable” level of skill to get by. When we reach this point, we either consider ourselves to be good enough at the skill that we’ll be able to call upon it when needed. Many people do this for skills such as bike riding or swimming. Or we’re happy enough to continue enjoying the activity at that level without feeling the need to stretch ourselves to keep improving our ability. This is often the case with inter-sports like softball or sports that people only occasionally enjoy like golf or skiing. We don’t necessarily want to increase our level of ability to perform at more competitive levels. We just want to be good enough to be able to do them enjoyably in a certain context. (more…)
In modern Western society, we’re taught from a young age to set goals for ourselves and to work toward them until they’re achieved. You see this in our schools, in which there is more value placed on the marks students earned than on what they have actually learned and retained. We focus on this in sports in which the results of games or matches are what receive praise or denigration. The problem with this goal-oriented focus is that it doesn’t necessarily give you better results, and it makes the entire experience less engaging and fun. This can be especially true in one’s training in the martial arts.
If you read our blog regularly, you probably know that we are strong proponents of personal development in and through the martial arts. Learning self-defense and getting/staying fit are the main reasons most students join us, but the ones that stay over the long term usually find other less obvious benefits that seep into them over time through their training. Today, we’re going to feature the top 10 articles related to personal development in and through the martial arts in the history of our site. Here they are below. Enjoy!
We live in a society that emphasizes competition. We grow up on team sports, we strive to get the best marks in school to win scholarships over other applicants. In the career world, people compete for the best jobs, promotions, professional awards, even the respect of our colleagues. On the home front, people compete by comparing themselves to others, by trying to “keep up with the Jones’s” in terms of their homes and lifestyles, but also in terms of their spouses and children. (more…)
I was recently discussing the topic of encouraging personal development in the dojo with a newly belted Shodan who was visiting us. Like many Shodans, he has come to realize the profound impact that martial arts training has had on his life, above and beyond the simple benefits of self-defense and fitness, including self-confidence, mental fortitude, perseverance, exposure to different philosophies and lifestyles, etc. This led to a discussion on how to encourage this kind of personal development in the dojo. (more…)