“We fail to realize that mastery is not about perfection. It’s about a process. A journey. The master is the one who stays on the path day after day, year after year. The master is the one who is willing to try and fail, and try again for as long as he or she lives.”
Excerpt from Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment by George Leonard
Recent news from Afghanistan: An Afghan woman named Estorai was killed by her husband for giving birth to their daughter; a 15-year-old girl named Sahar Gul was brutally tortured and then forced into prostitution by family members; a 19-year-old teenager named Gulnaz was raped, jailed for adultery and then released two years later after Afghan president Hamid Karzai intervened — on the condition that she marry her rapist.
And then this:
To learn more about Afghan women’s issues, check out RAWA (Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan), Afghan Women’s Mission or Feminist Majority Foundation’s Campaign for Afghan Women & Girls.
I really wanted to weasel my way out of testing for my next rank this weekend. I just didn’t feel like I was ready. I haven’t been putting enough practice time in for several months… I’ve been too busy with work and life.
A few days ago we did a mock test during our lesson, and I could not make it through even one kata without messing up. I was sure I’d forgotten everything and it would take weeks to remember it all again.
When I tried to postpone, Sensei Donnie gave me the old “I only had 2 days to prepare for my black belt test and had to walk 10 miles to the dojo, in the sleet and snow, with holes in my flip flops” story. He told me to just buck up.
So I did — I ate, breathed, slept karate for the next few days. I’m so glad he pushed me, because it made me realize that I do know everything already… I just wasn’t focused. As soon as I stopped worrying about how I’d do at the test, and instead shifted my attention into using the time I had left to practice, it changed everything.
It was a big reminder to me about how my thoughts can either pull me down or lift me up. — Patty.
These were parting words from Sensei Lucas as I was leaving the dojo one day last week. I was in a hurry to get to work, so his advice didn’t quite settle in until I was driving home several hours later.
It reminded me of something I’d heard a while ago about a study that was done proving that when a person visualizes doing any sort of physical activity, their muscles actually fire in sequence.
I turned off my car stereo and began to mentally run through the kempos we’d reviewed earlier that day. I surprised myself by remembering not only the techniques themselves, but several detailed notes that Sensei Lucas had given me as well.
My daily drive to work is about to become my extra workout time. — Patty.
Ellen Snortland’s book, Beauty Bites Beast, was very inspirational to me when I was beginning my self-defense journey. In this oftentimes humorous video, she explains how and why she made women’s self-defense her life mission:
These Kenyan grandmothers have been targeted by rapists, who see them as AIDS-free prey — so they’re learning to fight back.