Back to School in Body and Soul

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of success?

For me, I think of the undercurrent that is beneath the flow of each day.  The way our day to day life is structured has everything to do with the outcomes we achieve.

So, then perhaps the first and most important question to ask is:  what kind of success am I really looking for?

In our dojo, we take a holistic approach, as is the tradition of a martial arts family.  We look at how well the structure of our lives is set up to promote success in mind, body and spirit.  

In many martial arts traditions, the ultimate goal is to be of service to the whole community we are a part of.  As Albert Schweitzer said, “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”

To achieve a high level of success, we must be very good at making decisions.  It’s so easy to get derailed from what’s most important in each moment, especially in a culture overwhelmed by wall-to-wall attention grabbers.  How do we combat the noise and learn how to truly make the most out of our time? 

The answer of the warrior is simply this:  Cultivate presence of mind.  One could make a good case that all the hard work of training really amounts to one goal – building our personal capacity to be fully present in each moment.  

This is why so many people take time out of their day to commit themselves to martial arts practice.  It’s why there seems to be such a strong correlation between martial arts practice and focus in school.  As one mother confided in me recently about her daughter’s return to our program this fall, “We can tell when she has been coming to classes and when she has not – and so can everyone around her.”  A great martial  arts school changes you.  

It helps establish the foundation, the undercurrent, for a life that nourishes success.  How do you find the right martial arts program for you or your child?  I would say, establish what true success means to your family, and seek out the school that will nourish just that.

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