How Gratitude Helps Us Stand Up for What Matters Most

Welcome to the second week in November.  Here on Budo Mountain this month, we’re thinking about fire.  I see it around us in the vibrant trees, I see it in our children as they bravely navigate new social situations while working to hold onto the truth in their hearts, and I see it in our adult students too, making bold decisions to honor what they know is right for them or their families, even when it means leaving something comfortable and known.

Bravery, that inner fire that reflects these firey leaves, is the value we’re focusing on this month.  It’s a wonderful time for reflecting on what is most important in life. Bravery goes hand in hand with Thanksgiving and gratitude because when we forget what we really cherish in this life, we can behave cowardly.  

John F. Kennedy once said, “We sometimes chafe at the burden of our obligations, the complexity of our decisions, the agony of our choices. But there is no comfort or security for us in evasion, no solution in abdication, no relief in irresponsibility.”  

When we make a practice to daily think of and connect with the gifts in our life most precious to us, we get fired up to take the bold actions needed to support and nourish these things.

I invite you to take a moment now and count your blessings.  What is most important in your world? What fills you to bursting and gets you beaming, ear to ear?  And then the question easily follows, what are you willing to do for these things? Is there any way you feel you need to step up to honor these most precious blessings in your life?

In our Leadership Program, the kids are learning about a special tool we call the “Budophone”, that helps them stand up for their own safety when they are feeling scared or embarrassed.  This is taught in our martial arts classes and more deeply in our After School Program and also our occasional Saturday morning Ambassador Trainings for the Black Belt Track students.

Our Techniques of the Week:

Martial Arts

Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri
Ukemi Koho Ukemi Koho Kaiten
Technique 1 Blocks from Kamae Set 2 Strikes from Kamae Set 2
Technique 2 Moving at Forward Angles
Technique 3 Jumonji no Kata Building Blocks Jumonji no Kata in Action


  • One Leg Leaping obstacle course
  • Tumbling obstacle course including rolling on the mat, rolling between to staffs on the floor, and rolling as a dodge from a foam staff
  • Handstand Station and Cartwheel Station
  • Tornado Kicks


(On a Break this Month)

The lessons of Bravery and Speaking Up will be woven into every class this month, so if you’re feeling the need to reconnect with your voice, I encourage you to try a free class here.

Thanks for reading!  Domo Arigato.

See you in the dojo!

~Sensei Nesta

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