Saturday, April 16, 2016

A Fighter's Life

I was watching the 2015 movie "Creed" again recently and there's a part in the dialog that I keep thinking about.

Rocky: Why would you want to pick a fighter's life when you don't have to?
Adonis Creed: I been fighting my whole life.  I ain't got a choice.

Rocky goes on to tell him that it's always a choice.  However, I am not so sure I agree.

I've been involved in martial arts now for more than 35 years.  It's been my life's journey as a student, now a teacher, across a variety of martial arts styles.  At the right times in my life, the right teachers have appeared to guide me to the next stage of my development.  Even the times I thought I would stop training or focus my energies on something else - I just couldn't.  It's in my DNA.  I feel like I've been fighting my whole life.

The journey started with me wanted to protect myself from the frequent beatings I got at school.
I was small, with a disproportionately big mouth (which I still have).  I was an outcast, unpopular and poor at sports.  Picked last when I was picked at all.  I got beaten so much that the school would let me out 15 minutes early in the afternoon so I could get most of the way home before the other kids got out and chased me down.  It usually worked.

Martial arts gave me the confidence to stand up, even when I got knocked down.  It gave me the confidence to set and achieve my life's goals.  Martial arts ultimately brought me to Japan (where I still am and expect to remain).  It gave me a place to belong.  It taught me to have pride in myself and not to be ashamed of my past as a foster child.

Now, martial arts is a way to help my students have the confidence and drive to accomplish their own goals and achieve their own success.  It is about paving the way for the next generation of teachers who will go out and share what we do with their own students.  It's about changing the world - one black belt at a time.  It's about giving back, for all that martial arts has done for me.

I am going to be 50 years old this year.  I'm still fighting.  I think I always will be.  I just don't know any other way to be.  I'll be fighting against bullies.  I'll be fighting against myself.  I'll be fighting against my past and my demons.  I'll be fighting for recognition, for self-respect, for my pride.  I'll be fighting to make a difference.  If you are reading this, I expect you will be too.

What are you fighting for?
What are you fighting against?

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