Pushups, kicks and punches for your mind

You’ll learn a great deal when you go to martial arts training camps. Most of it is technique, some of it is learning about your limits (they’re much further than you think) and almost always there is good old life wisdom involved, too.

I attended a 3-day workshop of a hidden-gem-type martial art called sanjuro a couple of weeks ago. Topics over meals wondered far from dynamic kicks and one dinner I was lucky to sit next to Glenn Delikan, the mastermind behind the martial art. I was sharing some interesting (for me, anyway) choices in my life when Glenn voiced a framework to think about those kinds of things. There are three kinds of things in life, he said. There are things you want, things you ask for and things you need.

Brilliant. And so simple, I guess these things go hand in hand. I’ve developed a habit of looking at my choices in the light of this thought since that conversation, works like wonders.

Then there was the kimura shukokai karate camp some six years ago when sensei Yrjö Pursianen (7 dan) chatted to a bunch of us participants after a tough drill. He said he was recently asked by someone what he had gotten out of his more than 30 years of practicing karate, gallons of sweat, long training sessions and injuries. What’s the payoff after putting in all that effort, the person had wanted to know. To which sensei had replied: I get back everything I put in to karate. And the more I put in, the more I get back.

A great way to look at cost and reward, at journey and the destination, wouldn’t you agree?

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