My weekend was spent in the presence of one of my martial arts idols. We were given instruction by a very humble  and inspirational woman from Japan. She is one of four women with the rank of 8th Dan in my art, which is the highest rank possible. She not only imparted knowledge in areas like how to wear our uniform (fancy pants are complicated) but also several ideals that make one a better person:

  • winning should never be your end goal
  • always put 100% effort into the things you do
  • practice, practice, practice
  • how you perform says a lot about who you are as a person
  • your learning and effort does not end when you reach the highest rank because you have a duty to others
  • share with others so everyone can reach a higher skill level 
  • it's ok to do something just because you think it is cool
  • understand that others are not the same as you and might need accommodations
  • always be thankful
  • there might be times you are given an easy pass and you should use that to your advantage but also ensure your skill level matches what is expected

She spoke of wanting to make the world a more peaceful place through the martial arts. In that moment I understood that if everyone were passionate like her, so much good could be accomplished. The more we connect with others, the greater chance we have to make a better world.