Disciplined leaders know that one of the keys to mastery, success, and long-term fulfillment is practice.
There’s an old joke that goes something like this:
A couple of Texans in a Cadillac on their way to a concert are lost on New York’s Lower East Side. They stop to question a bearded elder.
“Excuse me, sir. How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” they ask.
“Practice!” he tells them.
That usage of the word as a verb is clear to all of us. You practice your instrument, your dance routine, your multiplication tables, your combat mission. You practice in order to learn a skill, in order to improve yourself, in order to get ahead, achieve goals, or make money.
For one who is trying to truly master something, however, the word is best conceived of as a noun, not as something you do, but as something you have, something you are. In this sense, the word is akin to the Korean word do (as in TaekwonDO), which means, literally, way or path. Practice is the path upon which you travel and can be anything you do on a regular basis as an integral part of your life. Not in order to gain something else, but for its own sake.
For a disciplined leader, the rewards gained along the way are fine, but they are not the main reason for the journey. Ultimately, the master and the master’s path are one. And if the traveler is fortunate, that is if the path is complex and profound enough, the destination is two miles farther away for every mile he or she travels.
I’ll leave you with one more little secret: The people we know as masters don’t devote themselves to their particular skill just to get better at it. The truth is, they love to practice, and because of this they get better. And then, to complete the circle, the better they get the more they enjoy performing over and over again.
Please remember not to let anything distract you from your martial arts practice and have fun with learning new knowledge and experiences even over the summer. It’s never too late to start and we anticipate a lot of disciplined leaders to be at the next belt promotions on August 12th and 13th.