Often it is human nature to become complacent in life and forgo the thought of taking on new challenges, especially when we have become comfortable within our current situation and or lifestyle. For many, the fear of failure may keep them from trying new things or taking on new challenges. While this type of behavior is not necessarily a negative characteristic I believe it does limit the positive experiences that life has to offer and that one can encounter when they choose to take on new endeavors. Every year I personally conduct a self reflection of my own life and create a few goals that I would like to accomplish within the coming year, for the last several years most of mine have been primarily associated to academic endeavors, career development and household projects. However, just recently I decided to start on a journey by learning an entirely different martial arts system then I have been previously trained. I formerly studied up to the rank of 2nd degree black belt the art of Decuerdas Eskrima (GM Arthur Gonzalez), which is primarily a weapon oriented and highly combative Filipino martial arts style. While I have and continue to study in this particular system for over ten years I felt the need to try my hand in a more traditional system. A few months ago I took a leap of faith and walked onto the mat of a Kosho Ryu Kenpo martial arts school as a white belt. While it may have been easier for me to transition into a similar Filipino martial arts based system, I knew that if I truly wanted expand my horizons and challenge myself, studying a different system would be the only way to do so. The learning of new stances, Japanese terminology and the associating of identification names to specific movements has at times been challenging, yet all the while, extremely rewarding. By pursuing this new goal I am forcing my mind and my body to work in ways that they are not accustomed. It is this type of challenge and stimulation that has led me to ponder various martial art techniques from my foundational Eskrima system and improve upon them, thus leading to self-progression. This phenomenon can be accomplished with any new endeavor or challenge you introduce to your everyday routine. For example, taking on a new challenge and or process through cross training within your workplace can also produce a similar result and lead to self-progression. George Bernard Shaw once stated the following
“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent in doing nothing.”
Through examination of this statement it would seem that Mr. Shaw had overcome any fear he may have had and learned to overcome any self doubt and seek out new challenges. It is surprising how achieving a goal that once seemed impossible can have a profound effect on one’s life. It is through constant progression that self confidence is born and we begin to live life to our full potential. While it still feels strange to me when I glance in the mirror at the new Dojo and see my recently earned orange belt tied around my waist as I prepare to bow to my Kenpo instructors, I realize that sometimes we have to take two steps backwards in order to move one step forward. I am not sure how long I will remain on this martial arts path, but as long as it continues to introduce constant progression within in my own life then I will continue to leave my tattered black belt in my gym bag and reach for my newly earned orange belt as I join in rank and file with other classmates who are on a similar path towards self progression.
–Guro Mike Cardenas