As with every testing cycle, anxiety levels tend to rise as our students get prepared for rank advancement. The past month has been no exception. Except........after nearly 30 years of producing world class Black Belts, I have stumbled upon a secret! No, it's not a secret training program or a magic vitamin, it's a mental mindset. I have found that no matter what your skill set level or even what your physical attributes are, the stress and anxiety is the same. Some of us have "mega memories" and find retaining all of the complex techniques in the forms easy. Some of us are not physically gifted and struggle to make the techniques look sharp. Some of us have reservations about the sparring aspect of the test and prefer the artistic side that the patterns offer. Some of us dread the thought of getting that piece of petrified wood for our board break. And lastly, some of us just simply "freak out" performing in front of other people. Whatever your reservation may be, the secret is that ALL OF US experience some form of this while preparing for rank promotion. You are not ALONE!
I love sharing my teachings about overcoming different fears with all of you and how to look at an obstacle as simply as a speed bump. It may slow us down, but we ALWAYS get over it. 100% percent of your fear is simply your mind blowing things out of proportion and trying its best to use negative cognitions such as: you are going to embarrass yourself. You are not ready. You are going to choke. You are not good enough. Believe it or not this is a self-defense mechanism that is trying to save you, but all it accomplishes is preventing you from achieving greatness. The fact is that you may go up there and choke at some point. Remember my teachings and know that it's how you rise from that mistake and continue to move forward. That is what this test is about! All that I ask is for you to go out there and give your absolute best. Bring every one of those negative cognitions with you and trample on them in front of everyone watching. This is the most empowering feeling you can ever have and one that I embrace with passion as a martial artist.
There are many that get the call and have the privilege to test for rank advancement, but allow their thoughts to stop them from simply preparing for the test. While I may think they are ready and have met their time at rank requirements, this simple act of quitting breaks my heart and takes over. Many think I have dedicated my life to the martial arts, and while this may be true from one perspective, the truth is I consider myself more of a people builder, helping others achieve their best. This is what drives me and continues to motivate and inspire me everyday to put my dobok on. So tonight and at every testing, know that I am with you during every technique, every sparring match, every board break, and every time a speed bump tries to slow you down. Please hear me say..... "Keep moving forward, I believe in you!"
Like I wrote in my last post, consistency is the key to progress and we are all about PROGRESS here at MAA. Stay the course and do the work. The prize at the end of this journey will speak volumes in your life. I send my prayers of precision, balance, flexibility and strength to all of you and could not be any more proud of you for simply SHOWING UP tonight.
One Body – One Life – Train Hard