Training: Changing your vision

Daniel J. Levorchick


            I’ve often heard the saying, “You are what you think about”, but never really understood the powerful meaning implied.  When beginning to train and learn a new technique, there is often great frustration and lack of ability due to inexperience.  (mentally and physically) This is a natural outcome to have because there has been zero practice and repetition involved.  From a macro perspective, when you see Sensei or a black belt show you a technique with fluidity of movement and proper timing, there is greater appreciation in understanding the effort that is required to become a master.  To evolve in martial arts and in life, we must be willing to change our vision (learn from others and making it our own); be consistent with practice; and begin to see the finished work.

            Recently, we had a seminar in Atlanta, Georgia, and trained with the hanbo.  Given that I have not had any practice before with this tool, I was an excellent novice!  I was feeling once again that I was starting all over again with my martial arts training, because I understood very little on how to strike with a stick.  Plus, I had not had any previous practice.  But, I did think about one basic, humility, which propelled me forward.  I thought about how now using the hanbo would be a great opportunity to learn and become a better handler of this weapon.  And then I thought about my footwork, which I could still practice getting my hips low as I took each step, even though my striking would still be very poor.  Our training using the hanbo showed me how lacking I really was in swinging a stick.  But, instead of giving up, I decided to work at just improving 1 step, knowing that with time, I would get better.  Plus, Sensei would point out something to change, and just listening and applying what he said, this verbal communication unlocked my mind and improved my technique immediately.   Being reflective, I thought about how in life, we see the world the way we are, but if we are humble enough to hear the objective, creative voice of someone else, we can be transformed to a higher way of acting and thinking.  This brief example required my humility to be willing to listen.   As Paul says, “I know how to abound and how to be abased”, and in life we will experience both. 

            I’m extremely thankful for the Dojo because of the many different people, who from unique and diverse walks of life, continue to train.  There is so much to learn, and I feel very grateful for the opportunity to grow by having others teach me.  Training at the Dojo does directly correlate to how I perform outside of the Dojo, whether that is at work or how I interact socially.  Am I thinking the way I should?  Is my time being used wisely?  What do I need to change?  What do I believe in?  Once I have my vision properly aligned, then I must work at improving.  Realizing that hearing instruction is not enough, I must continue to practice.   Thank you, Sukh, for the faith that you have, and the value you place on having a healthy, productive community.  You are a living example of someone who is courageous, yet humble to learn new things.   Fellow dojo members, I believe we owe it to ourselves to grow as people, and not give up in this life, which is what I have come to see is valued when training.  KEEP THE FAITH.