Thursday, June 19, 2008


What does it mean to persevere?
According to Webster the answer is: to persist in a state, enterprise, or undertaking in spite of counter influences, opposition, or discouragement.
-Perseverance is being committed, working hard,being patient and having endurance.
Perseverance is being able to bear difficulties with a calm demeanor and without complaining.
Perseverance is trying again and again. Another word often used but rarely heard is steadfast, in most cases these two words have similar meanings.

Many times being persevering is confused with being stubborn. The definition of being stubborn is (again according to Webster) : unreasonably or perversely unyielding, difficult to handle, manage, or treat.
As you can see they are very different words with different meanings.

What does it mean to us as martial artists to be persevering?
It means to have an attitude of not quitting, for some it means executing that last pushup when your body says "impossible", for others it could be training in spite of the difficulties life throws our way. To persevere means to endure and as a martial artist it means to endure patiently and calmly, without grumbling and without protest. It is this attitude that seperates the mature practioner from the beginner. When you adopt this attitude, things stop becoming impossible, obstacles no longer stand in your way and excuses are exposed.

Each day we strive to "make it through". I suggest we stop trying to make it through like it was a chore. The day, week, month, year and life will continue whether you desire to "make it" or not. For many of us each day is a chore and we awake looking to the end of the day,we start the week thinking about the weekend. When life gets difficult as it sometimes does, we must understand what it means to persevere, to withstand whatever life gives us with calmness and tranquilty. It is that spirit of not quitting, of not giving up no matter what, that we should seek to cultivate daily.

strong spirit-strong mind-strong body

Sensei Orlando

Monday, June 16, 2008


What does it mean to be a sensei? Irrespective of what rank it may define, a sensei at his or her core is a teacher, regardless of rank. When you are a sensei all you can really do is guide a student. True there are fundamentals that must be learned, but after the foundation is set all the teacher really can do is guide. Occasionally I marvel at the importance placed upon rank in the various organizations I have been exposed to. When distilled to its essence, rank only means " I have been doing this longer than you have." When that is truly understood, the higher the rank the more indebted the practitioner is to the newer students, the higher the obligation to pass on the knowledge learned and acquired throughout the years. Yet even with this passing of knowledge each student takes his/her own path.

So what makes a good teacher?

A good teacher is flexible - Able to adapt to the changing dynamics of the situation and each individual student.

A good teacher does not impart truth but reveals it for the student to find- They allow the student to make the discoveries necessary to advance along their prospective paths at their own pace.

A good teacher is not a slave to routine- Although a lesson plan may be used a good teacher can change if the situation demands it.

A good teacher does not make clones of him/herself-recognizing the individuality of each student. He does not impose his own will or influence , but rather allows the student to grow and flourish, expressing him/herself.

The ideal teacher shows the student how to think, not what to think.

A good teacher gives due recognition-The good teacher is is plentiful with complements when due and correction when necessary.

I have had the opportunity and good fortune to have excellent teachers in my very short path in the martial way. I have also heard of poor teaching methods and have learned what not to do.

If you are ever given the privilege of teaching, take it as one of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon a student , regardless of rank, and apply yourself with all sincerity and seriousness to the task. Never forgetting that a few doses of humor can also go a long way.
strong spirit- strong mind- strong body
Sensei Orlando