Sensei’s Corner – October 2007
Training must be a daily activity. Training must be constant.
It is often difficult to find balance between the habits in our lives and our desired lifestyle & goals. It requires an investment of time and energy to achieve or obtain the things we want. However, there are numerous distractions in our lives that, if we allow, will suck away our time and energy. We may find that we have squandered our precious minutes (an often dollars) on temporary amusements that bring us no deeper connection to others, no deeper fulfillment of our spirit and no long-term sense of peace. We must work towards our long-term goals in life and select a means to those goals that bring us long life, meaningful relationships and happiness. Many people in the world spend so much time seeking their goals that they sacrifice the process of living life to its fullest in the process.
Some individuals will abandon vacations, sleep, their health, reputations, and even friendships & relationships in pursuit of money. Isn’t having money supposed to be a resource to help you enjoy a long, healthy, and happy life? Somewhere along the way the means starts to become viewed as the ends.
I see professional athletes who are so focused on achieving “hall-of-fame” status that they will sacrifice their long-term health. The average life-expectancy of pro athletes in the NFL, for example, is somewhere in the mid-forties. To make matters worse, many engage in long-term debilitating habits to give them a short-term competitive edge. Steroids, playing on injured limbs, using techniques that increase the risk of head injuries, etc. Some of these players find themselves suspended from the league or crippled on the sidelines unable to even compete. Aren’t modern training methods and chemistry supposed to enable prolonged, superior athletic performance? Somewhere along the way, the drive toward the ends can overtake better judgment until any means is acceptable.
Remember always why you train. Never allow your end goals to be undermined by the way you pursue them. Never allow your end goals to diminish the quality of what you are experiencing here and now. When practicing kata, we do not hold our breath until the end. We breathe deeply and naturally throughout the kata. In life, we should not postpone our periods of appreciation and enjoyment. We should appreciate and enjoy each step of achieving our goals, not just the times we designate as “fun.”
Every day, no matter what you are doing, you are practicing the essence of living the way and your attitude and actions will exude the quality of your training. We must strive to return to a state of balance each time we overexert ourselves, become sedentary, or get lost in the wide range of emotions we experience as human beings.
One way to re-center ourselves is through daily kata and meditation. These habits fortify the body, cleanse the spirit and revive the mind. Training must be a daily activity. Training must be constant.
– Sensei Don Seiler