- Posted by Cody Maltias
- On February 23, 2016
- 0 Comments
I have so many hopes for the students that come to the school in the same way I have high hopes for the academy as a whole. This post is meant to serve as a map to light their way, and hopefully any student undertaking a new activity.
Long Term Goals and Short Term Targets
I want to put a black belt around your waist someday, I want you to let the Martial Arts help develop you as a person over time and for it to become a language you use to relate to the other activities that fill your days. I want you to feel that earth shattering, life altering experience. Don’t worry if it doesn’t happen today. Trust in the process, focus your effort and attention inward, allow yourself the space to learn.
The long term goals can seem insurmountable until you break it up into bite size chunks. The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. So find each small goal you can. Let yourself enjoy your early successes no matter how small. Don’t stress over the parts that don’t come “naturally”. Anything that feels natural means your brain and body were already capable of that pattern. The moves that feel unnatural are the moments you are truly learning something new, enjoy and revel in the process of your body acquiring new skills. Practice each day with Coach Wooden’s motto in mind.
““Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” – John Wooden
Embrace The Community
Coaches, teammates, and those involved with the academy always come to form a tribe of some sort. Once you have been in the tribe for a while you forget the burden you first faced of integrating into a new group. As a new student focus on forming a support structure. Go out on a limb and trust your new teammates. Put yourself out there, make the first move of friendship. These are the people that will be with you through the years in your journey.
Let Fun Create Passion
Above all have as much fun as possible. Wherever you naturally gravitate focus on that area. I absolutely prioritize fun before anything else. The key is that each session you can’t wait to come back. No matter how much you learn or progress once you burn out you will stop moving forward. So don’t forget why we are here, to play, to wrestle, to connect to something naturally human in ourselves. In every culture unarmed combat exists as a tool of social connection and bonding. Some come play, let the fun light a spark of want to learn more and delve deeper into the arts. Soon you will realize the more you give the more you will receive in return. I don’t know of anyone who has been around the martial arts over the long term who does not consider the effort they put in duly rewarded.
Beneath Your Feet
There is a Lao Tzu quote I love, but I have seen multiple translations. “The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step” or “The journey of a thousand miles begins beneath your feet.” I prefer the latter interpretation. The first to me implies that an action must be taken while the second conveys that everything you will need already exists.
So have fun and enjoy the journey!