Some Thoughts on 25 Years of Teaching and Training
It seems not so long ago that I opened the doors to my first school in Parma, Ohio, and yet here we are celebrating my 25th anniversary.
Many would argue that the martial arts business is not easy, but I can't think of anything else that would have been so gratifying and fulfilling. Reminiscing on the many lives I have touched is humbling in itself. I have had the opportunity to see children become young adults, the weak become strong, the clumsy gain coordination, and the timid become filled with confidence.
What can possibly be more rewarding than to make a positive impact on a person's life? To provide guidance, focus, leadership, and motivation through the practice of martial arts and to watch those qualities become embedded in the people you teach. Is that not reward?
Even a long life is but a moment in time. Fame and fortune are fleeting, but the impacts we make on others and society are lasting. If any one of us has changed even one person's life for the better, we can say that we have contributed something to the human race and that our efforts have been worthwhile.
I am fortunate to have met many fine people along the martial arts path, to have made wonderful friends and to have been blessed with good teachers who have taught me more than mere physical skills but have embodied the true spirit of Wu De (Martial Virtue).
A Chinese saying states, "The taller bamboo grows, the more it bends." I try to lead my life with a sense of humility and gratitude for my accomplishments, and to preserve and to be steadfast in overcoming my shortcomings.
I have learned that you cannot climb a mountain by standing on other people's shoulders and that words can hurt more than blows and are longer lasting. That wishing, trying, and actually doing are not the same. That challenges, obstacles, and hardships are opportunities for growth and for tempering one's character. That excuses are unproductive; "talk doesn't cook the rice." That when we point one finger at others, there are three pointing back at us. And that living in the past and worrying about the future have no place in the fabric of a martial artist.
So I try to conduct my affairs accordingly and to learn something new each and every day. I look forward to the next twenty-five years, and beyond.