Moving up the Ranks: A little Something to Keep in Mind Martial Arts 16 MAY 2009

Today life is very much about instant gratification and the things that we think we want – bigger televisions, faster cars, brand name clothing, cutting edge cellphones, etc. We tend to want these things because in general, we feel that they will make us happy and content. However, acquiring all these worldly things is in fact not acquiring happiness. After all, even if our television becomes bigger or our car can suddenly drive faster, it’s still just the same old you sitting on the couch or slumped behind the wheel.

The person who has a little wants a lot, the person who has a lot wants even more. And unfortunately, as long as you equate acquiring things with achieving happiness, you’ll quickly find that happiness remains as elusive as ever.

Karateka Group

The exact same principle applies to moving up the ranks (i.e. getting your new belt) in any particular martial art form. If you have put in maximum effort and trained hard, you will wear your new belt with pride and happiness, because simply put, you have earned it. You have in essence bettered yourself.

However, if you simply train just enough to scrape by, maybe because you don’t know what all the fuss is about or simply don’t want to get all ‘sweaty for nothing’, you will quickly find this attitude catching up with you and before long, you won’t even be getting any enjoyment out of simply participating in your discipline any longer.

In the end, your discipline, be it whatever style you choose to partake in, should be fulfilling and not just filled up with things like belts, medals and trophies. True, having these things are not necessarily a bad thing, but they should not be a distraction from the true goal of what you do – and that is becoming a more confident, patient, humble and skilled individual – not just a man or a woman with a big trophy chest and who in fact, quite simply has nothing to back it up against.

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.