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Thoughts of a "Master"

Coach Evans, Master in Taekwondo, discusses life and lessons he has learned through his years of training and interacting with other human beings.

Going for the Gold!

The Olympics have been all over the TV and news outlets over the past several weeks.  It got me thinking about all the past students I've had who were "Superstars" in martial arts.

Let me start out by saying that I do not teach students to "win" at tournaments.  As some martial artists even require that their students go to tournaments to be considered for higher rank, I have not, do not, will not.  I do suggest they give it a try to see if it's something that they like, however, if they decide to never compete, I don't think anything about it.

There is only one person that I really compete against: ME.  It was always fun to see how I would do at a tournament, but it's not really a complete demonstration of all the hard work I've put into something.

So Olympics.  Hundreds of athletes from all over the world, gathering to each compete in their specific skill set to see who is the "best".  But it doesn't take into account that their "best" one day is not...

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Just a Rock into a River

The other day, on a trip through the US, my 7 year old son threw a rock into a river we were walking by.  After he did, he immediately turned to me and said, "Dad, if you throw a rock in the river, it changes the river forever."

Yep, just some Buddha like wisdom from an innocent kid.  It got me thinking about how we treat others.

We come in contact, one way or another, with many humans on a daily basis.  Online, at work, at the store, etc.  Every interaction with someone else is this: us throwing a rock into the river of their life.

It may be a positive rock, a negative rock, or even a seemingly neutral rock.  But a rock is thrown in their river and they are changed from it.  Just as a real rock in a real river, we may never know how we affected their life and to what extent.

A single kind word, a good deed, or a friendly wave can have a positive effect on their life.  Just as a grumble, sideways glace, or ignoring someone can have the opposite.

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Motivation

I'll start with a quick story from my life in martial arts:

When I was 12, I was already a Sr. 2nd degree black belt in Taekwondo.  I had been practicing TKD for at least 5 years non-stop.  3 days per week.  I had to wait at my rank for longer than normal due to age requirements.  With no testing in the foreseeable future, I felt bored.  I typically didn't have to try hard to "beat" the other kids in my classes and I didn't get corrected much for anything.  In my forms, I was good enough to not get "fixed".  I constantly got the, "Great! Now sit down so the next kid can give it a try!"  I WAS BORED!

My 12 month membership was just a couple months away.  I knew that as soon as it hit, I was done.  No more TKD.  What was the point, anyway.  I obviously was the best I could be.

Then my instructor noticed the boredom in me from just going through the motions.  He asked me to come to the Teen/Adult class one day.  I...

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Ownership of our Lives

If you've ever seen an argument on Facebook or even real life, "lack of ownership" was probably to blame.

Ownership is taking responsibility for our lives.  There is an inexhaustible amount of topics we could discuss, but here are some quick ones that come to mind.

Actions:  It has got to be #1.  No one makes me do anything....ever!  All of my actions are completely up to me.  Others can suggest, try to force, or threaten, but I still choose to take any action (or inaction) I do.

I hear time and time again how upset someone is on Social Media.  "It ruined my whole week!"  Well guess what, even if you did nothing to warrant an argument or beratement on Social Media, it was your choice to open the app, scroll along and allow yourself to be a part of whatever upset you.  Own your choice.  It's your fault you are upset.  If you don't want to feel that way, don't get on Social Media!  I'll take ownership of my actions.

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Failure is ALWAYS an option!

failure goals mistakes May 18, 2021

The word, FAILURE, usually congers up uneasy feelings of past mistakes and heartache.  But failure is simply a part of life.  A NECESSARY PART!

There will always be hurt in failure.  If we fail in something we've worked really hard or long in, the hurt is more.  Shattered goals, divorces, promotions, etc...  It will hurt!  However, with repeated failure, come resilience.

No matter how hard we try, sometimes it's not enough.  We don't all win, we don't all get a medal, the promotion is not always meant for us.  It doesn't mean we don't try.  We should try!  We should work our tails off to try and conquer our goals!

But we will fail.  Often.  But with each failure, we learn.  We learn how to get through the obstacle.  We learn that we CAN get through it.  Here's a short parable to help illustrate.

"There was once a man walking up a large gravel hill to get out of the valley.  As he worked hard to climb the...

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Self-Defense

self defense May 01, 2021

As a Martial Artist, I have thought of SELF-DEFENSE a lot!  I could talk about it for hours or days.  But I'll try to condense this for the sake of any reading it.

Throughout our life, we will ALWAYS be around those who seek to drag us down. The trick is learning how to deal with situations. Let’s discuss three situations.

#1) Disrespectful talk: Whether you are a teen at school or an adult at the store, you will deal with people talking smack. You have only to pay attention to your waiter or waitress and how people interact with them to see disrespect talk.

As much as we may want to punch a disrespectful person in the face (and I think they deserve it), it is not our duty to “solve” the issue with force. We have to have other ways for dealing with them. I cannot give the perfect formula for dealing with it. Trial and error will help. If you are a teen, talk to an adult if you need some help.  IGNORING IT WILL NOT MAKE IT GO AWAY!

#2) ...

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Bushido Virtues: Yuki 勇気 (Courage)

bushido courage Mar 29, 2021

Let’s continue our study of the Bushido Code from the Samurai of ancient Japan and focus on BRAVERY/COURAGE.

Pronounced YUKI (勇気) in Japanese, it is the type of bravery that every warrior needs.

Most probably view bravery or courage as ready to charge into battle. Fearless and ready to do what is necessary to win.

But courage itself implies fear. If it was easy, then it wouldn’t take courage to do it. Courage means: “Strength in the face of fear, pain, or grief.”

In normal life (outside of physical battles), fear of failure, judgement, and the unknown are an everyday thing. Some let this fear dictate how they live their life. Granted, fear in some cases keeps us from getting hurt, but letting it seep into our life and control it is paralyzing.

Fear of failure: WE ARE GOING TO FAIL! No matter how hard you try, you will always fail. Time and time again. But you can choose to have courage and go for it. Then courage to get back up and try again. “He who...

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Bushido Virtues: Meiyo 名誉 (Honor)

bushido honor integrity tenets Mar 22, 2021

HONOR!  What a topic to think about!

In Japanese, honor is meiyo 名誉.  As I contemplate honor I have mixed feelings of what the "true" meaning is, so here we go.

In my mind, the virtue of honor is exactly this: My commitment to what is right.  The application of that is debatable in as many ways as there have been Starbuck drinks.

Our OPINION on "what is right" is the main variance in honor.  What is right for some is despicable of another.  What is just a side thought to someone is the concrete backbone of another's ideology.

To me at least, my honor belongs and answers only to ME!  I choose what I believe to be right and I move forward with a commitment to answer to myself for veering off course.  I don't judge or condemn others for their differing views of rightness.  They have lived a completely different life with completely different goals, thoughts, and experiences.  It would go against my honor to even partially judge...

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Bushido Virtues: Jin 仁 (Benevolence)

benevolence bushido samurai Mar 08, 2021

仁(Jin)

I really enjoy studying ancient cultures.  Specifically martial arts cultures.  No one comes to mind more easily to everyone than the Samurai of Japan.

Though the Samurai did not start out with a "Code" or "Tenets", it did gain them during a time of general peace in Japan.  Once the civil wars of Japan stopped in the early 1600's.  After that, with no wars to fight, the Samurai turned more inward and focused on building themselves into a culture with "higher" thinking.

The Bushido Code or Bushido Virtues was created.  All this to preface Jin!


Jin(仁) is by far my favorite!  Jin translates to benevolence or compassion.

As human beings, we interact with other humans all the time.  It is within the interaction and motives that Jin falls.  If I train myself to have compassion for others, then I can truly reach for understanding.  My motives can then change from practicing compassion toward others for a specific reason.

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Who do you want to be?

Who do you want to be?  Not a simple question.  You can be nice, respectful, caring, a jerk.  Anything.

When we're young, we are typically told what to be.  "Be nice." "Be a hard worker." "Be obedient." (Incase you don't know me well, I HATE that word!)

The thing is, you can choose to be whoever you want to be!  It doesn't matter if you are 10 years old or 100.  You have the choice.  You are the ONLY one who has the choice.  If you want to be kind, then decide that you are kind and live that way.  If you want to be a jerk, then own it and live it. (Though we all wish you wouldn't, it is still your decision.)

So how do we decide who we want to be?

First, list the qualities that you want to have and are important for you.  Kind, respectful, caring, knowledgeable, strong, courageous, the list could go on forever.

Second, BE THAT TYPE OF PERSON!

Done!

If we are lucky enough to have more time on this planet, then we know that...

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